Saint-Gobain, a French multinational company, dedicated to the manufacturing of glazing for multiple industrial sectors, has chosen BCN3D printers to aid in increasing the efficiency, by reducing lead times and costs, of its manufacturing processes.
BCN3D’s 3D printers, and various innovative technological solutions, now enable Saint-Gobain engineers at its plant in L’Arboç, Barcelona, to significantly improve the efficiency of the manufacturing processes of parts and components for its automotive customers – including Daimler Mercedes, Stellantis Group, Volkswagen Group, Renault Dacia and Ford. By creating 3D printed tooling, Saint-Gobain’s Spanish factory has improved efficiency by reducing costs, and time spent, through the manufacturing of tooling implemented in automated lines.
This case study, in addition to the incorporation of BCN3D’s equipment in the production plants of Seat and Nissan in recent years, is an example of how technology such as BCN3D’s can be of great assistance to the automotive sector, and proves the company to be a suitable partner of this industrial sector, worldwide.
Since 2019, Saint-Gobain’s Sekurit business unit at the L’Arboç plant – where 19 million different automotive glazing units (backlites and sidelites) are produced each year – has incorporated 3D printing technology after outsourcing manufacture of tooling, for years, that it entrusted to traditional, mechanized processes with much higher costs compared to 3D printing.
With some traditionally manufactured parts costing the company €510 to purchase, but a mere €0.10 to print in-house, the incorporation of this additive manufacturing technology has enabled Saint-Gobain’s Spanish plant to save around €170,000 and reduce its lead times for tooling by 93%. The 3D printed parts take the form of tools, jigs, and fixtures all the way through to quality control.
“At Sekurit we have been manufacturing automotive components for 90 years. Thanks to 3D printing, we have experienced a significant cost reduction and a faster workflow adapted to our needs in the manufacture of tooling since we incorporated this technology compared to external suppliers we used in the past,” explained Angel Salas, Saint-Gobain’s maintenance engineer at the Barcelona factory.
Saint-Gobain’s Barcelona plant has incorporated 3D printing technology (including IDEX Technology) in its workshop with several BCN3D Epsilon W50 series printers and Smart Cabinets, making it easier for the company to develop new ideas, easily and conveniently create new prototypes in a shorter period of time compared to other machining technologies, carry out tests, and create end-use parts in a matter of days.
Saint-Gobain integrates additive manufacturing into tooling that facilitates the production of rear and side panels for vehicles. The process begins with a fully automated robot line: the glazing is cut to shape, the sides are smoothed and designated aesthetic details are added.
The glazing is then collected and placed in an oven to create the curves. Fresh from the furnace, the glazing dimensions and quality are checked, and then sorted into pass or fail for manual checking.