Ford Expands Use of High-Strength Steel and Aluminum on New F-150

Collision repair facility operators that thought investing in an aluminum repair capability was just for luxury vehicle specialists will be changing their opinion with the introduction of the new 2015 Ford F-150.

Long rumored, Ford made it official yesterday, introducing the new F-150 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich. The vehicle substantially increases the amount of aluminum alloys in its body and the amount of high-strength steel in its frame.

Starting with its fully boxed frame, Ford engineers increased the use of high-strength 70,000-psi steel – from 23 percent to 77 percent of the frame – to improve stiffness and durability while reducing weight. The new frame is up to 60 pounds lighter than the current frame.

“The frame is the backbone of the truck, and we delivered a frame that is stronger and more capable than before,” said John Caris, F-150 lead frame engineer. “Our frame team developed exclusive, industry-first engineering techniques to create a truck foundation that is lighter without sacrificing toughness. This F-150 frame is the toughest we have ever built.”

Ford engineers also increased the use of advanced materials in the F-150 body.

High-strength, aluminum alloys are used throughout the F-150 body for the first time, improving dent and ding resistance, and also saving weight. Overall, up to 700 pounds of weight have been saved, helping the F-150 tow more, haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter, and contributing to efficiency. Ford engineers selected these high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloys because of the metals’ unique ability to withstand tough customer demands.

“Our objective was to find materials that allowed us to design the truck to be as tough – or tougher – than the current model, yet could help it be hundreds of pounds lighter for better capability and fuel economy,” said Pete Friedman, manager, Ford manufacturing research. “Out of all the materials we tested, we carefully selected only certain grades of aluminum that met our high performance standards in all of our tests, while allowing us to trim hundreds of pounds from the truck.”

The reduced weight of the high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloys enables the F-150 to tow and haul more than ever while also improving acceleration, braking and handling performance. Adding to these benefits, aluminum alloys will not rust and are resistant to corrosion, helping enhance vehicle life.