The heat treatment services you enjoy also serve large companies when they design and produce some of their better-known products. Ford Motor Co. started a metallurgy evolution as it looked for ways to reinforce its vehicles. Its F-150 pickup truck is the most publicized beneficiary of the latest, using its proprietary method for heat treatment in Gastonia, NC. Even though the new frame for the F-150 is 60 pounds lighter, it is stronger than previously produced frames. Here are the properties that create this reinforcement:
- Aluminum alloys: The new heat treatment technique creates an aluminum alloy described as high-strength 6000-series. Using these processes, Ford increased the amount of 70,000-psi steel in the frame from 23 to 77 percent. The result was a stiffer, more durable frame that was also lighter. Trucks are nearly 700 pounds lighter overall with this combination, but also feature a higher towing and hauling capacity with improved fuel efficiency.
- Improved fasteners: The spot weld technique was borrowed from Jaguar and Sable, but their approach to it was less developed. In addition to using spot welding, Ford also produced proprietary fasteners to increase the truck’s durability. Each rivet spreads though the panel, causing a permanent connection. This became necessary because spot welding is more difficult with aluminum, and this was especially true with the new material. So, in addition to applying just the right treatment, parts needed better fastening as well to create a strong and durable vehicle.
- Adhesive beads: Fasteners work very well, but they also have backup in the form of adhesive beads. The development of adhesive beads has been constant through the past decade, and their use in the automotive industry has increased by 50 percent. They are reliable and they produce less noise and vibration during drives. Crash test performance also improves with the use of adhesive beads. However, where Ford found them most useful is with an aluminum alloy that is not easily welded. They became the perfect route to even more durability.
- Affordability: The creation of an aluminum alloy was the perfect marriage between cost savings and strong pickups. There is still some devotion to steel, as it makes up the tailgate and weight-bearing parts of the frame. Aluminum offers the properties that create a lighter truck, but it is also twice as expensive. It would be impossible to create an affordable truck with an all-aluminum frame. Combining the aluminum with the less expensive steel allows Ford to enjoy the good properties of each material without falling victim to high costs.
The development of this aluminum alloy is very significant. There are even discussions about the possibility of a diesel-electric hybrid truck with all the hauling and towing power needed, but without the thirsty V8 engine. Truck weight often reduces the chance of these developments, and with the new effective alloy, Ford gets to enjoy more possibilities. It shows how heat treatment still has a role in modern ingenuity.
If you want to know how heat treatment in Gastonia, NC will strengthen your components, contact J.F. Heat Treating Inc. today.