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Ford Hopes to Revolutionize Pickup Manufacturing with Aluminum Alloys


By James D. Sawyer
Senior Editor

Ford is hoping to redefine the way pickup trucks are built with the 2015 F-150. Introduced Jan. 13 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the new truck will weigh up to 700 pounds less than its predecessor thanks to high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloys currently already in use in the aerospace, commercial transportation and energy industries. The vehicle’s frame uses high-strength steel rated up to 70,000 psi. The amount of high-strength steel in the frame has increased from the 23% used in 2014 and earlier models to 77%. Eight through-welded crossmembers provide help increasing frame stiffness.

Ford resorted to the “diet plan” as a means of meeting upcoming fuel and emissions regulations.

Ford F-150

Another lightweighting step was taken in what will be the F-150’s newest engine, a 2.7L EcoBoost V6. (EcoBoost is Ford-speak for the use of twin turbochargers to make a small engine produce the power of a larger unit while still offering the fuel-economy benefits of the smaller displacement unit.) The new V6, according to Ford, is the first gasoline engine to have a cylinder block made with compacted graphite iron (CGI). CGI has previously been limited to use in diesel engine blocks. The new engine’s composite CGI/aluminum block, Ford said, saves weight while providing strength where it’s needed most for durability.

Ford F-150 Frame  

The 2015 F-150 will go on sale later in 2014 and will be assembled at the Dearborn (MI) Truck Plant and the Kansas City Assembly Plant (Claycomo, MO). More details may be found here.

Published Date : 1/13/2014

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