Design Engineering

Ford uses honeycomb design for strong, lightweight cargo shelf


Materials Automotive Ford lightweight

Using all-natural paper and water-based glue, six-pound honeycomb floorboard is strong enough to handle nearly 700lbs.

Ford has been inspired by ingenuity found in nature. The automaker has actually developed a structural design that mimics that of the honeycomb developed by bees.

honeycomb structure FordThe new structure is being used in the company’s EcoSport cargo area to create a strong, yet lightweight four-way parcel shelf. The recycled paper honeycomb material gives the shelf unusual strength.

“The hexagonal design of honeycomb is a testament to nature’s ingenuity,” says Mike Mazzella, Ford EcoSport assistant chief engineer. “Not only is it strong, it’s superlight. Customers can slide the shelf into multiple different slots like an oven rack; even store it on the back of the seats. It helps make EcoSport super-flexible in everyday use.”

According to Ford, honeycomb is one of several useful details that make the fun, capable and connected EcoSport an engineering and design powerhouse.


Resin-reinforced honeycomb has a truly phenomenal strength-to-weight ratio. The shelf weighs approximately six pounds, yet it is rated to handle nearly 700 pounds across a 38.5-inch by 25.25-inch surface.

Incredibly, in real world terms, this shelf can hold up to five bags on concrete mix, four large bags of top soil or even eight individual gallons of water.

Traditionally, honeycomb has been used to create the strong structure under the skins employed in high-end sporting equipment like skis, as well as aerospace frames.

ecosport ford honeycombTo create the adjustable floorboard for the all-new Ford EcoSport, a layer of hexagon-shaped cells made of 100 percent recycled paper and water-based glue is sandwiched between two layers of composite material.


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