DEARBORN, MI — Ford put more than 4 million pounds of recycled carpet into vehicles last year by switching an engine part away from virgin material.
The auto maker has been using cylinder head covers made with nylon derived from scrap carpet in four vehicles: the Escape, Fusion, Mustang and F-150.
The nylon starts off as post-consumer carpet collected by Wellman Engineering Resins, which grids it into nylon resin dubbed EcoLon. It's then taken by Dana Holding Corporation, which uses injection-molding to turn the fiber into cylinder head covers.
Ford will keep using the covers on its 3.0-liter Duratec and 5.0-liter engines, which power the four vehicles, and could find its way into other vehicles and parts. "We do expect the use of recycled nylon resin to expand in upcoming years, especially since it has been so successful," said Roy Ford, supervisor of Ford's Component Engineering and Design Department.
By switching away from virgin material, a move Ford it trying to make in other vehicle parts, Ford estimates it avoided the use of 430,000 gallons of oil.
As part of an overarching strategy to use more non-metal and biobased materials, Ford has also delved into using soy foam for seat cushions and headliners, made plastic bins out of wheat straw, recycled plastic into various components and turned soda bottles into car interior fabrics.
Ford Mustang - CC license by noel_bowman (Flickr)