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Ford recycling old carpet into head covers

Ford's use of a nylon resin made from 100 percent recycled carpet, known as EcoLon, has kept more than 4.1 million pounds of carpet out of landfills, EcoLon is used for cylinder head covers, the first automotive product of its kind manufactured from recycled nylon for use in the Ford Escape, Fusion, Mustang and F-150.
Posted: April 11, 2011 - 4:46PM
Author: Don Bain


The cylinder head covers are just one example of Ford's use of sustainable materials in vehicles. They also utilize soy foam seat cushions, recycled yarns on seat covers and recycled blue jeans for sound-dampening material (must be all the hard rock they’ve soaked up).

The carpet you walk on usually ends up in overused landfills and thanks to Ford's efforts to use more sustainable materials in vehicles carpets are now forming the cylinder head covers on some Ford engines at great benefit to the environment.

During 2010, the use of EcoLon® material, a nylon resin made from 100 percent recycled carpet, the equivalent of nearly 154 football field from landfills. It also amounted to recycling more than 985,000 yards of carpet and freeing for other uses the oil once consumed in making head covers, a reduction of more than 430,000 gallons.

The EcoLon material, made by Wellman Engineering Resins, offers an eco-friendly, alternative to traditional cylinder head covers. They 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 can be found on the 3.0-liter Duratec engine in the Ford Fusion and Escape. They’re also 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 recycled nylon. To give nylon a new life and purpose, Wellman grinds used nylon carpeting into fiber and recaptures the material through a patented, proprietary process. The result is a high-quality nylon resin, which Dana then molds into cylinder head covers through an injection-molding process.

Ford's Reduce, reuse and recycle program is part of a broader global strategy to reduce its environmental footprint and accelerate the development of advanced, fuel-efficient technologies worldwide.

Ford has recently concentrated 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.