Ford is to become a charter member of The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) with a US$5m letter of intent, which it is maintained, will leverage Federal, State and industry investment totalling US$250m.

As part of its charter membership, Ford has appointed one representative, Patrick Blanchard, technical leader for composites, to IACMI’s board of directors.

Ford and IACMI are working together to produce processes which will use carbon fibre and other composites to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.

“In line with our sustainability strategy, our goal is to work with the entire vehicle supply chain to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions through the use of advanced composites,” said Blanchard.

Ford cites its “dramatic success” by converting the body of the Ford F-150 truck from steel to high-strength aluminium alloy. By using the alloy, the overall weight of the vehicle decreased by as much as 700lb.

The automaker also highlights its GT supercar as a low-volume test bed for its work with composites such as carbon fibre, cutting the weight of parts by as much as 60% compared to steel.

“Ford has a proven track record for success in recent automotive advancements—by implementing lightweight materials such as carbon fibre and aluminium to reduce vehicle weight,” said IACMI CEO, Craig Blue.

The IACMI, managed by the Collaborative Composite Solutions Corporation (CCS), is a partnership of industry, universities, national laboratories, as well as Federal, State and local governments.

CCS is a not-for-profit organisation established by The University of Tennessee Research Foundation.