Renault’s New Trafic & the Eiffel Tower
As production costs around the world vary, global OEMs are shifting where they build products, often at the expense of long-time production sites where, essentially due to labor costs, things have become non-competitive. This is particularly the case in Western Europe.
They’ve installed 187 new robots in Sandouville to put 5,000 spot welds on the body of the New Trafic
So it is interesting to note that the Renault Sandouville plant, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, which had been a passenger vehicle plant (it builds the Laguna and the Espace), has a product added to it, the New Trafic and Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro high-roof version light commercial vehicles.
The Trafic, of which Renault has sold more than 1.6-million since it was introduced in 1980, is, according to the company, available in 270 body versions and more than 100 colors (which sounds like a logistical nightmare).
One interesting factoid regarding the preparation for building the New Trafic in Sandouville: for the press tooling, 5,000 metric tons (or 5,512.5 tons) of cast iron were used, which Renault says is three quarters of the weight of the Eiffel Tower’s metal frame.
That’s a lot of die sets.
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As OEMs and suppliers seek lightweight solutions to meet higher fuel economy standards through multi-material structures, conventional welding techniques are beginning to give way to new solid-state joining methods better suited for creating strong bonds between dissimilar metals.