The design story
For many years, Ford has led the way in looking for ways to minimise the impact of cars on the environment. One option is to increase the use of plastics in its cars, which:
- makes them lighter
- means that they need less fuel
- increases their recyclability.
In line with European legislation (see New laws for scrapping old cars), Ford has been looking for ways to make its cars more recyclable and to use recycled plastics in its vehicles. John Amner, Automotive Recycling Specialist for Ford, linked up with Graham Hearn of Wolfson Electrostatics at the University of Southampton, and together they developed two new methods of identifying plastics:
- a modified spectroscope, known as the PolyAna (see below). The main problem with this is lack of portability - the plastic part has to be carried to a spectroscope linked to a computer
- a small, hand-held device that was the starting point for a revolutionary new machine called a Tribopen. This soon proved flexible enough for use by people dismantling cars in a scrap yard.
New laws on scrapping old cars
A changing scrap industry