Tech Tips November 2012


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Ford Adds More Collision Parts to Truckload Program

Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD) announced that the company has added 36 new parts to its Collision Parts Truckload Program boasting an average overall list price reduction of 17 percent. The program, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, continues to play a key role in helping collision repairers deliver high-quality, cost-effective repairs to their customers.

FCSD says that by offering Ford and Lincoln dealers competitive prices on bulk purchases of high-volume collision parts, the Truckload Program allows them to compete more effectively against non-OEM parts and other parts specified by insurance customers.

“We’re proud of what the Truckload Program has grown into over the last 15 years,” said George Gilbert, Truckload Program manager for FCSD. “Ford vehicle owners expect and deserve genuine Ford original equipment collision replacement parts, and that’s exactly what repairers and insurers can provide, with over 460 of the most in-demand parts currently available.”

The 36 part additions include 10 exterior lights, seven isolators, six steel bumpers, six fascias, four wheels, two valances and one grille.

The Truckload Program currently covers over a dozen replacement part types, including bumper fascias, steel bumpers, bumper bars, exterior lighting, mirrors, car and truck radiators, wheels, header panels, grilles/GORs/GOPs, isolators/impact pads/shafts and valances.

For more information on FCSD’s Truckload Program, or for a list of the parts currently available, contact your local Ford or Lincoln collision parts wholesaling dealer or the Ford Collision Parts Hotline at


Ford Shows Off Carbon Fiber Technology

Ford Motor Company displayed a prototype carbon fiber hood at the recent Composites Europe event in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) Ford Focus hood weighs more than 50 percent less than a standard steel version. As a result of progress made through an on-going research project involving engineers from the Ford European Research Centre, the car makers says production time for an individual carbon fiber hood is fast enough to be employed on a production line, a significant step towards increased usage of lightweight materials in Ford vehicles.

“It’s no secret that reducing a vehicle’s weight can deliver major benefits for fuel consumption, but a process for fast and affordable production of carbon fiber automotive parts in large numbers has never been available,” said Inga Wehmeyer, advanced materials and processes research engineer, Ford European Research Centre. “By partnering with materials experts through the Hightech.NRW research project, Ford is working to develop a solution that supports cost efficient manufacturing of carbon fiber components.”

The involvement of Ford European Research Centre in the Hightech.NRW research project follows Ford’s partnership with Dow Automotive Systems, a collaboration announced earlier this year that will investigate new materials, design processes and manufacturing techniques.

Carbon fiber is up to five times as strong as steel, twice as stiff, and one-third the weight. Advanced materials like this are key to Ford’s plans to reduce the weight of its cars by up to 750 pounds by the end of the decade.

Wehmeyer said Ford customers should not expect to see carbon fiber -bodied examples on sale in the near future, “But the techniques we have refined and developed for the prototype Focus hood could be transferred to higher volume applications at a later date.”


GM Pioneering Use of Magnesium for Sheet Metal Parts

General Motors is testing an industry-first thermal-forming process and a proprietary corrosion resistance treatment that will make it possible to produce sheet metal parts from magnesium in future production vehicles.

Magnesium, which weighs 33 percent less than aluminum, 60 percent less than titanium, and 75 percent less than steel, has presented a challenge to automakers to make reliably strong and non-corroding sheet metal panels using traditional panel forming methods.

Most magnesium parts today are made using a die-cast process, which becomes impractical when the part being formed must be very thin, like a body panel. GM’s new thermal-forming process involves heating up magnesium sheet stock to 842 degrees Fahrenheit before molding it, allowing the material to be pressed into precise, rigid shapes.

Using this process, GM has developed a production-ready magnesium rear deck lid inner panel that withstood 77,000 robotic slams and 550-pound impact drops without any issues. The panel is 2.2 pounds lighter than its steel counterpart.

Die-cast magnesium has been used in a variety of parts ranging from steering wheels to engine cradles, but GM is the first to use thermal-formed magnesium sheet metal in structural applications, and it expects magnesium sheet applications to grow with additional materials and process improvements targeted at reducing cost.

Automakers have also struggled to make magnesium corrosion resistant. GM’s proprietary treatment for thermal-formed magnesium resisted 10 consecutive weeks of 24-hour environmental tests involving salt spray, 100 percent humidity and extreme temperatures.

General Motors told Car & Driver magazine that the new magnesium part is going into limited production by the end of this month and will be used on an existing vehicle on a different continent.

The United States Automotive Materials Partnership estimates that by 2020, 350 pounds of magnesium will replace 500 pounds of steel and 130 pounds of aluminum per vehicle, an overall weight reduction of 15 percent.


Roadways May Soon Glow in the Dark to Reduce Accidents

Dutch inventor Daan Roosegaarde and road construction company Heijmans, will team up to complete an experimental road next year that glows in the dark using a concept designed to reduce accidents caused by dark or inclement weather conditions.

The new design, which won Best Future Concept at the Dutch Design Awards, is similar to the old glow in the dark toys. It uses luminescent paint that charges by the sun’s light during the day, and glows at night, for as long as 10 hours.





In the Roosegaarde concept, roads could also be designed with ‘intelligent’ glow in the dark patterns which only glow under certain conditions, such as a snowflake pattern that only glows when road temperatures approach freezing, a concept seen on other products, such as beer cans and baby products.

The first experimental glow in the dark road is expected to be installed in the Netherlands in 2013.


The World’s First All-Aluminum SUV

Land Rover will soon become the first carmaker to offer an all-aluminum SUV. The redesigned 2013 Range Rover SUV is scheduled to go on sale in U.S. markets in December with a brand new, lighter body, improved fuel economy and better handling.

The five-seat Range Rover has an all-aluminum unibody structure that is 39 percent lighter than the steel-bodied 2012 Range Rover. Land Rover said the U.S.-specific model with a 5.0-liter V8 engine is 700 pounds lighter than the current model.
In addition to the aluminum body, an all-new aluminum front and rear chassis architecture has been developed and paired with a with completely re-engineered four-corner air suspension. The company says the vehicle’s luxurious ride has been retained, while its handling and agility have been sharpened.