Ford looks to chocolate for futuristic innovation

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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Ford Motor Company has devised a new production method for creating lighter plastic parts for its vehicles. While this alone may not seem very newsworthy, the new innovation is claimed to help reduce vehicle weight and in turn, improve fuel economy and emissions. So, what was the inspiration for this ingenious new idea? The Nestlé AERO chocolate bar of course!

Apparently, Ford engineers were intrigued specifically by the famous bubbly texture of the AERO bar. With the bubbles in mind, Ford's engineers altered their plastic manufacturing process by injecting gas into the moulds. This injection of gas during the moulding process creates a crossection of plastic compound that is said to resemble an AERO bar at the microscopic level.

The new plastic compound is called MuCell, and it has a claimed weight savings of twenty percent in comparison to normal plastic parts. When the gas bubbles are injected into the plastic, a honeycomb structure is created and that helps keep the plastic strong even though the weight of the material has been reduced by a fifth.

The airheads at Ford say that the tiny bubbles within the plastic compound means less plastic is used than before, and less energy and time is needed to manufacturer the new plastics also. This also leads to lower manufacturing costs and manufacturing emissions. MuCell technology expert, Carsten Starke had the following to say of new innovation. "For the customer it is win-win, the plastic is 20 per cent lighter without increasing cost or reducing strength and it will help make their Ford better in almost every aspect."

MuCell plastics will first be used in engine covers on Ford's Focus, C-MAX, Grand C-MAX, S-MAX, Galaxy and Mondeo. MuCell is helping Ford reach its goal of reducing 100kg from its small cars and 300kg from its large cars by the year 2020. With that goal in mind, one can't help but wonder what other inspiration can come from chocolaty confections. Perhaps Ford should take a closer look at Rolo? Twix perhaps? Or what about baked goods? Has anyone ever taken a good hard look at the molecular makeup of a Twinkie?
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Ford, Nestl, MuCell,

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