Ford, in its efforts to become a sustainable brand, has become the first automaker to use 100% recycled ocean plastics in its Bronco sport model. The wiring harness clips used in the Bronco model are made from ocean-harvested plastic with a cost savings of 10 per cent. The strength and durability of the material is equal to that of the previously used petroleum-based parts, as per the company’s test results.
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The sustainable wiring harness clips have been used in the sides of the Bronco Sport’s second-row seats and guide wires that power side-curtain airbags. The clips weigh about five grams and are durable despite being exposed to saltwater and sunlight. “While these clips are small, they are an important first step in our explorations to use recycled ocean plastics for additional parts in the future,” said Jim Buczkowski, vice president of research and Henry Ford technical fellow.
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Though this is the first time Ford has used recycled ocean plastic to create automotive parts, the company has been using recycled plastics not collected from oceans to produce such parts for more than two decades. Recently, the automaker used recycled water bottles to produce underbody shields for the 2020 Ford Escape.
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With the new initiative of using recycled ocean plastic, Ford says there are newer opportunities on a global level to help reduce ocean debris that hamper sea life. The company is planning to build additional parts using the recycled ocean plastics such as transmission brackets, wire shields and floor side rails.
The initiative has also spurred job creation throughout the development process as the plastic material is collected from the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea by DSM Engineering Materials. After the collection, the plastic waste is washed of saltwater, dried, and extruded to form small pellets, which are then injection-molded by supplier HellermannTyton into the desired clip shape.