1/31/2017 | 1 MINUTE READ

Renault Trucks Builds Lighter, More Compact Engine with Metal 3D-Printed Parts

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The company has successfully tested a prototype four-cylinder engine with additively manufactured parts.

The Renault Trucks Lyon Powertrain Engineering department has designed a prototype DTI 5 four-cylinder Euro 6 step C engine produced with additive manufacturing. The engine’s rocker arms and camshaft bearing caps were manufactured via metal 3D printing and successfully bench tested for 600 hours inside a Euro 6 engine. The number of components in the DTI 5 engine has been reduced by 25 percent, making a total of 200 fewer parts.

"The aim of this project is to demonstrate the positive impact of metal additive manufacturing on the size and weight of an engine. This process has enabled us to reduce the weight of a four-cylinder engine by 120 kg or 25 percent," says Damien Lemasson, project manager at Renault Trucks. "The tests we have carried out prove the durability of engine components made using 3D printing. It's not just cosmetic."

According to the company, metal additive manufacturing opens up development opportunities for thermal engines, including optimizing the size of parts and reducing the number of assembly operations and components in an engine.

The video below shows this optimization process in action, illustrating how a number of the engine’s components were redesigned for additive manufacturing: 

"Additive manufacturing releases us from constraints and unlocks the creativity of engineers. This procedure is a source of disruptive technology for the engines of tomorrow, which will be lighter and more functional, thereby offering optimal performance," Lemasson says.

According to Renault, metal 3D printing will enable haulage companies to optimize overall operating costs for a fleet of vehicles, as a reduction in engine volume will lead to greater payloads and lower fuel consumption.

Following on from these successful initial tests, engineers at Renault Trucks will be continuing their work on this manufacturing process to further increase the performance and functionality of truck components.