3D printing cuts 25% of parts from truck engines


Renault Trucks’ powertrain engineering department in Lyons, France, has focused on using metal additive manufacturing for engines.

A team of engineers and designers at Renault Trucks is working on a metal 3D printing process that is set to boost the performance of the company’s engines. 

Renault Trucks’ powertrain engineering department in Lyons, France, has focused on using metal additive manufacturing for engines. As a result, a prototype DTI 5 four-cylinder Euro-6 step C engine has been designed exclusively using 3D printing.

The number of components in the DTI 5 engine has been reduced by 25%, making a total of 200 fewer parts.

Although the complete engine was designed virtually, rocker arms and camshaft bearing caps were manufactured by metal 3D printing and successfully bench-tested for 600 hours inside a Euro-6 engine.

Metal additive manufacturing opens up new development opportunities for thermal engines. This printing process, which works by adding materials layer after layer, can be used to create complex forms, as well as optimising the sizing of parts and reducing the number of assembly operations and therefore the number of components in an engine.

Damien Lemasson, project manager at Renault Trucks, said: “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 120kg or 25%. The tests we have carried out prove the durability of engine components made using 3D printing. It’s not just cosmetic.” 

Metal 3D printing will enable haulage companies to optimise the overall operating costs of their fleets of vehicles, since a reduction in engine volume will lead to greater payloads and lower fuel consumption.

In the short term, this manufacturing procedure can be used for highly specific applications or small runs. However, the Renault Trucks engineers will be continuing their work on this process to further increase the performance and functionality of truck components.

Lemasson said: “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.”


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