Ford’s Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan today makes America’s best selling vehicle—the Ford F-150—and started Ford’s industry-leading closed-loop aluminum recycling innovation (earlier post), which was then expanded to other F-150 manufacturing facilities including Dearborn Stamping, Kansas City Truck and Buffalo Stamping.
Closed-loop recycling means that as hoods, tailgates, doors and fenders are stamped into shape, about 25% of the typical aluminum coil is turned to scrap. Using large vacuum systems and miles of tubes, scrap material gets shredded into smaller chips that are sucked into the system and routed via a series of computer-controlled gates; the scrap is dispersed in multi-ton piles in the back of a semi-truck.
By end of this year, Ford will have recycled approximately 1 billion pounds of aluminum (currently approaching 900 million pounds of aluminum recycled back into Ford products).
To put this into perspective, Ford produces an F-150 every 30 seconds across its facilities, and the Rouge produces a truck every 53 seconds. The closed-loop recycling system has helped Ford recycle more than 20 million pounds of aluminum a month, which is enough to build more than 37,000 F-series truck bodies monthly.