DEARBORN – The carpet underfoot in homes sometimes ends up in strange places, and now Ford’s efforts to use sustainable materials in its vehicles have landed carpet in another unique spot – the cylinder head covers on some Ford engines. Even more impressive are the benefits it has for the environment.
During 2010, the use of EcoLon® material, a nylon resin made from 100 percent recycled carpet, saved more than 4.1 million pounds of carpet from landfills, the equivalent of nearly 154 football fields. It also amounted to recycling more than 985,000 yards of carpet and reducing the consumption of more than 430,000 gallons of oil.
The EcoLon material from Wellman Engineering Resins offers an eco-friendly, high-quality alternative to typical cylinder head covers and is one more example of Ford’s continued dedication to finding renewable material solutions for use in its vehicles. The cylinder head covers are manufactured by Dana Holding Corporation.
“By working with Wellman and Dana, Ford has found a way to bring green applications to a new, unique location in our vehicles,” said Brett Hinds, Ford manager, engine design. “This single use has made an incredible impact, and we’re continuing to look for ways to expand the use.”
The cylinder head covers are used on the 3.0-liter Duratec engine in Ford Fusion and Escape. They can also be found on the 5.0-liter engine, which powers Mustang and F-150.
“We didn’t have to make compromises for this application,” said Roy Ford, Ford engine sealing supervisor. “With a fixed raw material cost that delivers cost savings compared to oil, along with the green benefit, this application adds to the ways Ford is minimizing our impact on the environment.”
The cover is the first automotive product of its kind manufactured from post-consumer recycled nylon. To repurpose nylon, Wellman grinds used nylon carpeting into fiber and recaptures the material through a patented, proprietary process. The resulting product is a high-quality nylon resin, which Dana then uses to mold into cylinder head covers through its injection-molding process.
Ford’s “Reduce, reuse and recycle” commitment is part of the company’s broader global sustainability strategy to reduce its environmental footprint while at the same time accelerating the development of advanced, fuel-efficient vehicle technologies around the world.
Over the past several years Ford has concentrated on increasing the use of nonmetal recycled and bio-based materials, including soy foam seat cushions, recycled resins for underbody systems, recycled yarns on seat covers and natural-fiber plastic for interior components.