When Renault was developing its new generation K9 engine to meet the now obligatory Euro6 regulations, it also needed to develop new processes in different areas of its Valladolid plant in Spain that supported its SPR and lean manufacturing principles.
The K9 produces fewer than 80mg/km of nitrogen oxides, which is a requirement of Euro6. It features steel pistons that generate less friction and delivers 3 per cent lower fuel consumption. The launch of diesel engines also led to the updating of other key elements such as the connecting rod. With the introduction of these technologies, has come the need for modifications to Renault’s production lines.
The particular challenges facing Renault’s Production System (SPR) – designed to ensure the company benefits from the most high performance production system worldwide – was how to maximise efficiency and output, optimise the available space and keep maintenance as simple as possible.
With ambitious targets to reduce overall costs of the new engine and increase production, whilst maintaining quality, Renault needed an experienced and trusted components supplier. So, in stepped SMC with its LEF actuators to support the screw part of the process. With the highest repeat action, the screwing of components was a key focus for Renault in its efforts to improve productivity in an efficient way.
Renault was one of the original adopters of SMC’s electric range of products and has not been disappointed with the latest results, expressing its satisfaction with the LEF actuators.
Renault says SMC´s electric actuators have provided its machines with the high flexibility required for the development of new products, and at a very competitive price.
Renault also believes the continuous collaboration with SMC has been key to the integration of the electric actuators and has reinforced the image of the company as a components supplier for the automotive industry.
In addition, the proven reliability of SMC solutions has given Renault the confidence to use the company’s products on future projects.
Being Japanese owned, SMC also shares Renault’s SPR principle through the kaizen (continuous improvement) philosophy and collectively both teams are always striving to enhance the manufacturing process, so that it’s as lean and efficient as possible
SMC’s sales engineer, responsible for the Renault account, Roberto García says: “We have worked with Renault for 16 years and had the track record, expertise and product knowledge to help our customer meet its key objectives of reducing production time by 50 per cent and minimising maintenance time and costs.”
A key part of Renault’s production process is the use of robotic technology. However, they utilise valuable space and are costly, complicated to programme and maintain. So, it was Renault’s ambition to replace these, where possible, with more efficient and effective alternative solutions.
As a result, SMC’s LEF actuators have been installed in place of a robot, with the ability to cover eight different positions whilst withstanding heavy loads up to 15 kilos. They provide resistance to the momentum generated during the screw and high screwing process, therefore, offering quality precision. SMC’s electric actuators are easy to programme and maintain and crucially deliver production efficiencies across all key areas.
Roberto García explains: “Since installing our electric actuators, Renault has significantly reduced the screw cycle from 16 seconds to nine seconds and the overall time of the operation by six seconds to just 24 seconds. The company has also halved its production area to just 4m².
“It’s a great example of lean manufacturing and has provided Renault with the perfect solution to their production challenges and ultimately helped them to bring a highly competitive product to market. I am confident this engine will join the family of best-selling engines that form part of the Renault Group.”