Water Stewardship at Our Chicago Assembly Plant
Ford is continuing its water leadership with new water-saving technologies at the Chicago assembly plant – home of the Ford Taurus and the award-winning Ford Explorer. The plant implemented initiatives toward the end of 2016 that helped it reduce water usage by 13 million gallons last year – expected to be significantly higher in 2017 after a full year of use.
Two key projects have contributed – an increase in the reuse of water in the plant’s pre-treatment system and the addition of a cooling tower side-stream electrolysis system to remove calcium and magnesium (softening system). The plant is also developing additional innovative processes that aim to reuse up to 90 percent of water used in the pre-treatment process, reducing the need to use Chicago city water.
Zero Waste to Landfill and Closed-Loop Aluminum Recycling
After two years of hard work, our Rouge Center has joined the growing list of Ford manufacturing facilities that have achieved the demanding zero waste to landfill (ZWTL) status – no mean feat for this large-scale complex with 16 million square feet of factory floor and approximately 7,000 employees.
All of our manufacturing plants in Canada and Mexico are also ZWTL facilities.
Reducing Waste at Ford Rouge
The closed-loop recycling system at our Rouge Center plays a big part in successful waste reduction, enabling up to 20 million pounds of aluminum stamping scrap to be recycled each month – the equivalent to 30,000 F–150 truck bodies.
Targeting zero waste also meant finding innovative solutions for managing different types of waste. One challenge was how to handle the swarf – the metal shavings and chips that are created when metal is ground during engine manufacturing processes. The team found a briquetter machine that can transform the metal back into a brick that can be recycled. Any coolant oil on the metal shavings is squeezed out during the process and is then reused.
“We are proud of the efforts of our employees worldwide in their commitment to helping Ford reduce its global environmental footprint, and especially pleased with this achievement at our iconic Ford Rouge Center.”
Wildlife Habitat: Doing Our Best for Bees
Ford’s Rouge Center is home to thousands of factory workers and 80,000 honeybees – thanks to Mary Mason, a Ford engineer who works at Rouge – and the company’s wildlife habitat plan.
It all started in the early 2000s as part of Ford’s environmental initiative – the Heritage 2000 program – which included “greening” parts of the Rouge facility, planting crabapple trees and introducing hives to the orchard. Mason, a Ford safety investigation engineer, brought in some of her own bees, and has served as a volunteer caring for the Rouge bees for three years.
Honeybees in the U.S. are in steep decline, as in other parts of the world. The Rouge hives are helping to support local populations of this precious insect. They are also part of the Rouge tour, teaching visiting schoolkids about the significance of bees for biodiversity and pollination.
Aside from the bees at the Rouge plant, Ford rescued tens of thousands of other honeybees in the summer of 2016. Officials at the Ohio assembly plant in Avon Lake called in a beekeeper to remove about 10,000 bees and at the old St. Thomas assembly plant in Canada, thousands more were rescued.