Ford Motor Co. and Alcoa Inc. recently entered into a joint development agreement to collaborate on next-generation aluminum alloys for automotive parts.

Ford will begin using Alcoa's 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.

Alcoa's Micromill technology, which was introduced in late 2014, produces an aluminum alloy that is 40 percent more formable than today's automotive aluminum. 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.

"This collaboration supports our continued drive for innovation as we research automotive applications for even greater light-weighting," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president and chief technical officer.

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. 

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