Renault Trucks is working with additive manufacturing, specifically metal 3-D printing, to boost the performance of truck engines by reducing the number of parts and improving efficiency.
The Renault Trucks Lyon Powertrain Engineering department manufactured a prototype DTI 5 4-cylinder Euro 6 step C engine exclusively using 3-D printing. The team then bench-tested the engine for 600 hours.
“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 4-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 3-D printing. It's not just cosmetic.”
Renault says additive manufacturing opens up new opportunities for thermal engines as the printing process adds materials layer after layer to create complex organic forms. The process optimizes the size of parts and reduces the number of assembly operations, and, as a result, the number of components in an engine.
For transport companies, metal 3-D printing will help lower the overall operating costs of their fleet of vehicles, as a reduction in engine volume will lead to greater payloads and lower fuel consumption. Moving forward, Renault plans to work to increase the performance and functionality of truck components with future iterations of 3-D printed engines.