Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Ford:
New Manufacturing Method Could Cut Emissions By 50%

Saving engines from the scrapyard and reusing them could deliver a 50 percent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to producing a new engine, according to news from Ford Motor Company. The automaker has announced that its new, patented plasma coating technology unlocks new recycling potential.

The Plasma Transferred Wire Arc coating technology works through the application of a spray inside a worn-out engine block that helps restore it to its original factory condition. The process simplifies the remanufacturing process and could reduce the number of faulty engines that are completely replaced when they could be repaired.

“Traditional engine remanufacturing techniques can be prohibitively expensive, and energy intensive, requiring iron-cast parts and intricate machining processes. The Plasma Transferred Wire Arc coating technology removes the need for additional heavy parts and the processed engine block has a new life as the base of a replacement engine,” said Mark Silk, supervisor, Powertrain Products, Ford Customer Services Division Europe.

Juergen Wesemann, a manager in Vehicle Technologies and Materials, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, said the technology “was originally developed to enhance performance models such as the all-new Ford Mustang Shelby GT 350R [before they] used it to remanufacture engines that might otherwise be scrapped.” It is one of several innovations developed at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Aachen, Germany.

In Aachen and other cities around the world, Ford researchers investigating opportunities to use lightweight materials, renewable materials, and inspiration from nature. The 2016 F-150 will be lighter, with an aluminum body structure, and will be the only compressed natural gas (CNG)/propane-capable half-ton pickup. Ford is considering various plants as replacements for car parts: Guayule shrubs found in Arizona, dandelions, sunflowers, and sugarcane as potential alternatives for rubber; and dried tomato skins that are a by-product of Heinz Ketchup production for wiring brackets or storage bins in Ford vehicles. Alongside Proctor & Gamble, Ford is researching the biomimicry potential of geckos’ sticky toe pads for adhesives, which can often prevent the recycling of car parts.

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