France: Additive Metal Fabrication
Renault Trucks Prints Engine Components
Renault Trucks has designed a four-cylinder engine that incorporates additive components. In this way, the manufacturer could reduce the weight of the engine by around 120 kg and has already proven the durability of the individual components on the test bench.
Lyon/France — Renault Trucks is working on ways to produce engine parts by using 3D printing technology. Up until now, the engineers have virtually redesigned the entire engine, however, they manufactured for instance the rocker arms and the camshaft bearing caps by means of the 3D metal printing process. Afterwards, they successfully tested the components for 600 hours on a Euro 6 engine. The aim of this project is to demonstrate the positive effects of additive metal production on the size and weight of the engine. This process has enabled the company to reduce the weight of a four-cylinder engine by 25 %, i.e. 120 kg. "The tests also prove the durability of a 3D-printed engine," explains Damien Lemasson, Project Manager at Renault Trucks.
Integrating and Optimizing Components
Additive metal fabrication offers completely new prospects for the development of internal combustion engines. Complex organic shapes can be created by building components layer by layer. Furthermore, parts can be optimized, and the number of assembly processes and engine components can be reduced. “This procedure is a source of new technologies for the engines of tomorrow, which will be lighter and more functional, thereby offering optimal performance," says Lemasson. The number of components in the newly developed five-liter engine has been reduced by 25 % or 200 parts respectively. For example, the engineers integrated 80 parts into the cylinder block and 45 parts into the cylinder head. They also optimized the mounting of the alternator and the motor wiring harness.
Small Serial Production Runs Planned in the Short-Term
Following the first promising tests, the manufacturer is now working on improving the functionality of the parts and their performance. According to Renault, this process could be used for specific applications or small series runs soon.
This article was first published by Automobil Industrie.
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