Any polymer -- let alone Biodegradable plastic -- will have a tough time in proving its worthiness, over time. Plastic Manifolds can certainly pass the FEA and FMEA analysis', but actual field conditions, over time will tell the real story. It will be interesting. I'll watch for the follow-ups!
Contrarian, thanks for sharing your experience. Maybe those problems are what was behind the redesign. At least Ford fixed it (apparently). Wish my bank could do as well with their unbelievably bad software problems.
Thanks Contrarian I thought there had been a problem with the Focus plastic intake manifold and was going to post something but I couldn't remember the specifics. Something about fins inside the manifold that were intended to swirl the mixture, but the fins were breaking off and were ingested into the intake valves.
GTOlover, thanks for pointing that out: the encapsulation, as it were, of metals inside plastic making it hard to recycle the entire manifold. One answer to your question is Ford's own programs for recycling its own materials, including collecting damaged parts from dealer-repaired vehicles and either remanufacturing them, or recycling them to recover raw materials, as we discuss here http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=266056 Another may be the growing infrastructure to support recycling plastics, which we've covered several times, for example http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=269499 http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=269232
far911, I totally agree with you about the importance of recyclability and reuse, and of sustainable materials in general. We have covered these topics many times in DN, especially in respect to plastics. Here's a story I did on Ford's efforts in this department, including their internal use of their own recycled and remanufactured car components: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=266056 Ford has been a leader in this effort, and it's by no means a trivial one considering the nature of automotive manufacturing. The company is also doing its own internal research for making sustainable materials recyclable.
Maybe it's nice that car made with plastic parts can be easily recycled but I'd rather have a car that will last a while before it needs to be recycled. Seems upside down to be concerned about the recycleability of some minor percentage of the car, when that minor percentage can cause the entire car to be junked and likely prematurely.
My last car had an "exploding" plastic intake manifold that Ford was the subject of a class action and lost. It couldn't take the heat and/or pressure over time and Ford had to extend the warranty and labor for those failures. Something tells me they lost a whole lot more on that idea than they ever saved themselves or the customer using a plastic manifold.
I guess from a marketing standpoint, plastic used in critical applications is a great idea because you're creating cars that have no potential for longevity. Anyone that has worked on an old car (80's/90's) knows the joys of disintegrating and brittle plastic parts. As time goes on and materials advance that is sure to improve but for the most part this penny shaving is false economy. Per the article - saves a $1 per car. I'd have gladly given Ford $1 more when I bought my car and saved myself the headache of replacing that plastic part at great expense and trouble six years later. Reliability and cost of ownership extends well beyond the warranty period, and is a big factor in my mind.
Ann you are right about the recycling of plastic, but if we dont go to far ultimately after several recycling it will not be able to be recycled ultimately resulting in burning to erase from earth and resulting in playing a part in destroying OZONE layer.
This is a thermoplastic so the material is recyclable. However, the issue is that this crossover is overmolded to the regular nylon used in the manifold. In addition it appears there is a bunch of metal (brass?) fasteners molded into the manifold. I state all this to ask, who is going to pay someone to seperate these?
I think Ford was only looking to save weight and cost on this part. They claim that it can all be recycled. However, I am sure the engineers of this product have a strict material requirement, so what do you use cut out, recyled HTN for? And you better hope the recycler got those inserts out as they will damage injection molding machine screws and barrels (and possibly tooling)!
Do not read this wrong, this is good engineering to reduce weight!
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