Ford: New remanufacturing method could cut emissions by 50%

Ford has developed an innovative recycling technique that aims to give a new lease of life to old engines that would otherwise be scrapped.

When car engines fail they are typically just taken out and replaced because traditional engine remanufacturing techniques can be prohibitively expensive

When car engines fail they are typically just taken out and replaced because traditional engine remanufacturing techniques can be prohibitively expensive

The carmaker’s new process, which it calls Plasma Transferred Wire Arc coating technology, applies a spray to the inside of a worn-out engine block that helps restore it to its original factory condition.

Ford says the technology delivers a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions compared with producing a new engine, as well as requiring significantly fewer raw materials.

“We have taken a process that was originally developed to enhance performance models such as the all-new Ford Mustang Shelby GT 350R and used it to remanufacture engines that might otherwise be scrapped,” said Juergen Wesemann, the manager of vehicle technologies at Ford’s advanced engineering department.

“It is just one example of how Ford is looking to reduce its environmental footprint through a range of innovative measures,” he said.

How Plasma Transferred Wire Arc coating technology works

 New life

When car engines fail they are typically just taken out and replaced because traditional engine remanufacturing techniques can be prohibitively expensive, requiring iron-cast parts and intricate machining processes, according to Ford.

“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, the supervisor of powertrain products at Ford Europe.

Blueprint

The innovation is the latest to emerge from Ford’s Blueprint for Sustainability programme which tries to develop new materials and processes to improve efficiencies in the manufacturing and operation of Ford vehicles.

Previous projects saw Ford create seat covers from recycled plastic bottles and attempt to mimic the stickiness of a gecko’s footpads to boost the recyclability of certain car parts.

The company has also developed a ten-speed gearbox it claims could boost fuel efficiency by 5%, while installing 25,000 LED lights across its global manufacturing facilities.

By 2016, Ford said its European factories will have cut energy consumption by 25% compared with 2011, saving around 800GWh a year.

The manufacturer said the expected saving is equivalent to the energy used each year by a city with a population of 170,000, such as Oxford.

Brad Allen


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