Ford, Alcoa Collaborate on More Formable and Design-Friendly Next-Generation Aluminum Alloys

September 14, 2015
  • Alcoa’s breakthrough Micromill technology to debut on the 2016 Ford F-150; Ford to be the first automaker to use the advanced automotive aluminum commercially
  • Micromill® material is 40 percent more formable than today’s automotive aluminum – creating more design-friendly aluminum
  • Use of Micromill aluminum alloy for 2016 F-150 starts in the fourth quarter of 2015 on some components, with additional parts transitioning to the new material in 2016

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) are collaborating
to produce next-generation automotive aluminum alloys that are more
formable and design-friendly.

Ford will use Alcoa’s Micromill® material in multiple
components on the 2016 F-150 – becoming the first automaker to use the
advanced automotive aluminum commercially. The companies entered into a
joint development agreement to collaborate on next-generation aluminum
alloys for automotive parts using Micromill

‘‘Light-weighting enables us to design vehicles with great customer
attributes – like the F-150, which can tow more, haul more, accelerate
quicker and stop faster than the previous F-150, and is more
fuel-efficient than ever,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president and
chief technical officer, Global Product Development. “This collaboration
supports our continued drive for innovation, as we research automotive
applications for even greater light-weighting.”

Alcoa’s Micromill technology, announced
in December 2014
, produces an aluminum alloy that is 40 percent more
formable than today’s automotive aluminum.

“Alcoa’s breakthrough Micromill technology offers highly differentiated
automotive material with strength, weight, formability and surface
quality combinations previously impossible,” said Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa
chairman and chief executive officer. “This high-tech aluminum will give
Ford a true material edge enabling greater design flexibility and better
vehicle performance – making the concept cars of tomorrow a reality.”

The increased formability of Micromill aluminum makes it easier to shape
into intricate forms, such as the inside panels of automobile doors and
external fenders. The increased material strength allows for the use of
thinner aluminum sheet without compromising dent resistance.

Micromill is the fastest, most productive aluminum casting and rolling
system in the world combining multiple technologies into a streamlined
production system. A traditional rolling mill takes around 20 days to
turn molten metal into coil; Micromill does it in just 20 minutes.

Collaboration covers current and future Micromill alloys

Ford will begin using Micromill material in 2016 F-150 production in the
fourth quarter of 2015, and plans to increase its use over the next
several years on a range of vehicle components and future platforms. It
is projected Ford’s use of Micromill material on its vehicles will more
than double from 2016 to 2017.

Alcoa’s advanced alloys offer Ford the formability and strength required
for greater flexibility in designing vehicles using complex parts. By
using the highly formable material, parts constructed of multiple pieces
can be manufactured as a single part – reducing complexity and assembly
time. Target applications for the material include critical strength
structural parts as well as exterior panels that must meet strict
surface quality requirements.

Aluminum alloy produced using the Micromill process has already been
validated by Ford engineers to ensure it meets the stringent
requirements for producing high-quality parts, especially the kinds of
complex structures that make up F-150.

“The door inner is one of the most difficult parts in automotive
stamping,” said Peter Friedman, Ford global manager of structures and
stamping, Research & Advanced Engineering. “The ability to produce an
alloy using Alcoa’s Micromill technology to make that part is a real
statement for how this process can benefit the automotive industry and
Ford in particular.

“This technology will help Ford to produce the type of vehicles our
customers want,” added Friedman. “We believe the technology can be used
to develop new alloys that will improve our ability to form complex
parts, which will help in both design and efficiency.”

The joint development agreement between Alcoa and Ford will further
expand the existing suite of automotive alloys produced by Micromill
technology for use on Ford vehicles. New alloys will improve design
flexibility on lightweight parts and provide better vehicle performance
– helping Ford produce the types of quality, lightweight vehicles
customers want.

About Ford Motor Company

Motor Company
, a global automotive industry leader based in
Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six
continents. With about 195,000 employees and 66 plants worldwide, the
company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company
provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more
information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit

About Alcoa

A global leader in lightweight metals technology, engineering and
manufacturing, Alcoa innovates multi-material solutions that advance our
world. Our technologies enhance transportation, from automotive and
commercial transport to air and space travel, and improve industrial and
consumer electronics products. We enable smart buildings, sustainable
food and beverage packaging, high performance defense vehicles across
air, land and sea, deeper oil and gas drilling and more efficient power
generation. We pioneered the aluminum industry over 125 years ago, and
today, our more than 60,000 people in 30 countries deliver value-add
products made of titanium, nickel and aluminum, and produce
best-in-class bauxite, alumina and primary aluminum products. For more
information, visit,
follow @Alcoa on Twitter at
and follow us on Facebook at

About Alcoa Micromill

The Micromill
is Alcoa’s proprietary technology that manufactures the most advanced
aluminum sheet on the market. The Micromill process dramatically changes
the microstructure of the metal, producing an aluminum alloy that has 40
percent greater formability and 30 percent greater strength than the
incumbent automotive aluminum used today while meeting stringent
automotive surface quality requirements. Additionally, automotive parts
made with Micromill material will be twice as formable and at least 30
percent lighter than parts made from high strength steel. The Micromill
alloy has formability characteristics comparable to mild steels.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains statements that relate to future events and
expectations and as such constitute forward-looking statements within
the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
Forward-looking statements include those containing such words as
“anticipates,” “estimates,” “expects,” “forecasts,” “plans,” “projects,”
“targets,” “will,” or other words of similar meaning. All statements
that reflect Alcoa’s expectations, assumptions, or projections about the
future other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking
statements, including, without limitation, statements regarding growth
opportunities for aluminum in automotive applications or the expected
benefits of advanced aluminum alloys or manufacturing technologies or
processes, including the Alcoa Micromill; and projections regarding the
timing for and volume of Micromill material to be used on specific
vehicles. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks,
uncertainties, and changes in circumstances that are difficult to
predict and are not guarantees of future performance. Important factors
that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the
forward-looking statements include: (a) material adverse changes in
aluminum industry conditions or in the markets served by Alcoa,
including the automotive market; (b) failure to successfully
commercialize, or to realize expected benefits from new technologies,
processes, or products, including, without limitation, next generation
aluminum alloys or the Alcoa Micromill, at the levels or by the dates
anticipated, whether due to changes in the regulatory environment,
competitive developments, unexpected events, such as failure of
processes or material to meet specifications, changes in customer
preferences, disagreements with partners, or other factors; (c) the risk
that Alcoa is unable to supply Micromill material to Ford in the
quantities or by the dates required, or that such material is not used
in the volumes or on the vehicles projected; and (d) the other risk
factors discussed in Alcoa’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31,
2014 and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange
Commission. Alcoa disclaims any intention or obligation to update
publicly any forward-looking statements, whether in response to new
information, future events or otherwise, except as required by
applicable law.

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Ford Motor Company
Deeptie Sethi, 313-594-0949
Mike Levine, 313-806-1741
Alcoa Investor
Nahla Azmy, 212-836-2674
Alcoa Media
Lori Lecker, 412-553-3186