2003-2004: In collaboration with Ford Motor Company’s Worldwide Recycling Group, this student team developed a strategy to incorporate more recycled content in the foam seating of a future F-150 by seeking out new materials. While many new vehicles already incorporate recycled/reused metals, few fully incorporate recycled/reused nonmetallic materials due to limited recycling technologies; Ford was particularly interested in suggestions for the foam seats in its pick-up trucks.
After dissecting and analyzing a current seat, the team developed an evaluation process that Ford Motor Company can employ in evaluating future alternative foam seating materials. The evaluation process relies on a spreadsheet designed to facilitate the objective evaluation of alternative foam materials in four major categories: material quality, recyclability, source availability, and economics. The content of the spreadsheet was based on a weighted objectives tree and evaluation matrix developed from priorities set forth by the team and Ford Motor Company.