Renault Group opens the 3D printing center of its Refactory externally

With more than 20 years of experience in the field of additive manufacturing , the French car manufacturer Renault Group recently opened its own 3D printing center at its site in Flins, near Paris. This 500 square meter space is part of the ReFactory project launched in 2020 by the diamond brand and aims to open up to the outside by producing parts for various industries.

Thanks to its 18 3D printers and its post-processing solutions, the 3D printing center is thus able to respond to requests both internally and to produce parts for sectors such as mobility, transport or transport. agribusiness.

But how did an automotive group like Renault integrate additive manufacturing? How does he plan to deploy his 3D printing service to external customers? Mélanie Chevé, Cyril Guillemot, Younesse Khalil and Camel Fettih answered our questions!

3DN: Can you introduce yourself and your role at Renault?

My name is Mélanie Chevé, I work in Process Engineering at the Technocentre in Guyancourt and I started at Renault 5 years ago to develop 3D printing for production tools. Since the end of 2021, I have been working with Cyril and Camel for serial vehicle parts in additive manufacturing.

My name is Cyril Guillemot, I am an Additive Manufacturing Project Manager for series vehicle parts. I work with all of the group's brands to offer our customers new accessories or trim pieces that combine customisation, new textures and finishes. My mission also consists in associating the digital means allowing to give value to these pieces and to be able to sell them.

My name is Camel Fettih and I am an Advanced Manufacturing Project Manager. As part of the Refactory project, which aims to transform the Renault plant in Flins according to a new industrial model focused on the circular economy and sustainable mobility, I managed the implementation of the reference 3D printing center for the entire Renault Group.

My name is Younesse Khalil and I am the operations manager of the 3D printing center. I am delighted to participate in this human adventure which aims to democratize the use of additive manufacturing.

3DN: Can you remind us of the history of the integration of additive manufacturing at Renault?

Mélanie Chevé: Additive manufacturing at Renault began about twenty years ago at the Technocentre's prototype production center. Early technologies were used to prototype vehicles efficiently.

Then, the technology was democratized and we deployed additive manufacturing in our production sites, mainly with wire deposit processes to design tools. Today, this represents around 250 FDM printers spread over around 30 manufacturing sites.

Some also have powder sintering or material jetting machines. On each site, we have a 3D printing referent; in total, around fifty people are involved at Renault Group in matters related to additive manufacturing.

A year and a half ago, the group started wondering if it made sense to 3D print parts in their vehicles. This reflection was carried out across the entire value chain and with all our brands, and many suppliers were consulted. Today, we organize the company around this 3D printing activity for series vehicle parts.

This involves new jobs, internal production resources, the transformation of the Flins site thanks to the Refactory project, but also a change in the mindset of employees with regard to conception, design, customization offers up to sale. customer and the associated logistics.

Cyril Guillemot: We remain very attentive and open to developments in the additive manufacturing market. Under the impetus of our top management, we are able to change our horizons and adapt very quickly. It's not always easy to make everyone move forward at the same pace, because Renault is a large group, but we have this flexibility and consistency, it's in our DNA.

3DN: Remind us what ReFactory is? How does your 3D printing center fit into this approach?

Camel Fettih  : The Refactory is a project born in 2020 which consists of deploying a new industrial model based on the circular economy, all at the service of more sustainable mobility. In concrete terms, it revolves around four interconnected areas of activity: Re-trofit, Re-energy, Re-cycle and Re-start. Their main objectives are to extend the life of our vehicles, to produce green energy, to renovate automobile parts, and to train and innovate in the circular economy.

Additive manufacturing is an ideal technology for all of these divisions, offering specific parts for new industrial processes (tools, jigs, etc.) and tailor-made components to successfully retrofit our vehicles, for example. Our 3D printing center makes it possible to respond to all of these internal requests, it is a great tool for all those involved in the Refactory.

3DN: Precisely, can you tell us more about the 3D printing center that you have established on the Flins site?

Camel Fettih:  Our center now has 18 polymer 3D printers, including Ultimaker, Stratasys and HP machines, spread over an area of ​​500 m 2 .

We have moved into an area dedicated to post-processing where we will soon be integrating a Rösler brand surface finishing machine as well as a DyeMansion brand tinting machine. In terms of materials, we use all types of polymers, whether PLA , ABS , ASA , TPUbut also polyamide PA12, composites and ULTEM. It's a portfolio that grows as our customers demand.

Currently, 8 people work in this center and master all the stages of the value chain, from design to post-processing. We therefore have a multidisciplinary team, which is a real strength that allows us to be very agile in responding quickly to our customers' expectations.

This 3D printing center aims to become a benchmark for the Renault Group by meeting both internal and external prototyping and series production needs. Internally, 60% of our production are prototypes made either with the powder process (75%) or with the FDM process (25%). By 2024, applications for standard vehicle parts and industrial tools will explode and will represent 70% of our internal production thanks to the powder process.

We work for all the brands of the group (Renault, Dacia, Alpine and Mobilize) but also for all the Manufacturing trades such as stamping, sheet metal, painting, assembly, foundry and machining.

Beyond internal requests, our ambition is now to meet the needs of external customers. We are already working with players in the mobility, transport and agri-food sectors. We put our industrial know-how, automotive quality and automotive cost price at the service of various industries. Specifically, we offer design, printing and post-processing services for professionals.

We rely on the production standards developed within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to apply them to our 3D printing activities. Renault Group is recognized for its management standards for quality, costs, deadlines, human resources and respect for the environment.

Since October, we have been visible in Dassault's 3Dexperience marketplace, and soon on other e-commerce platforms.

We also want to extend this expertise to the additive manufacturing market through various partnerships and initiatives. In this regard, we recently joined HP's Digital Manufacturing Network, an international network bringing together all the 3D printing departments that use HP Multi Jet Fusion technology in their production. This will enable us to meet more industrial demands and requirements.

3DN: A last word for our readers?

Younesse Khalil : Through this 3D printing center, we want to offer a manufacturing service to all manufacturers, regardless of their sector of activity. Thanks to the Renault Group's industrial know-how and the skills of my multidisciplinary team, we can manufacture quality parts that are cost-efficient and virtuous for the planet by minimizing the carbon footprint of industries. To contact our teams directly and express your needs, please write to the following address: . If you want to discover our 3D printing center from the inside, click on this link.