For the past seven years, Renault Trucks has been preparing for the arrival of its new vehicle range. Before having the opportunity of seeing the new trucks for the first time in June, we take a look behind the scenes, where "quality" is the absolute watchword.
The launch of a new range of vehicles involves considerable investment. To produce the vehicles in the new Renault Trucks range, due to be unveiled on 11 June, the manufacturing resources have been largely renewed. €150 million have been invested for this purpose at the sites in France where the production tools are located: Lyon (Rhône), Bourg-en-Bresse (Ain) and Blainville-sur-Orne (Calvados).
This has led to a line of very large presses being installed in Lyon to manufacture the parts for the new cabs. At Blainville-sur-Orne, a new Body in White line and a cab trim line have been set up. At Bourg-en-Bresse, the development line, used for the new vehicles, has been operational for the past three years. This has been used for testing the production assembly and logistics processes, finalizing vehicles before they are brought to market and training operators. "Renewing the range has been made possible by a genuine joint development effort by the product and process engineers,” explains Olivier Vidal, SVP responsible for cab and vehicle assembly in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
"In our plants, several hundred people are totally dedicated to working on the launch of the new range full-time," explains Olivier Vidal. New manufacturing processes have also been introduced for these people to improve efficiency and safety. "Workstation ergonomics has been one of our core concerns in the run-up to starting production of the new range. For ensuring our operators can work under the best possible conditions is also a guarantee of quality for our customers," the Senior Vice President adds.
Quality is indeed the most important issue for Renault Trucks, which is aiming to achieve perfection from the very first vehicle to roll off the production line: "We know that the level of quality expected is extremely high and that there can be no compromises," asserts Olivier Vidal.
"Manufacturing the new range is a genuine revolution. The design office was in touch with the technicians, engineers and manufacturing teams throughout. This notion of joint development has underpinned everything we have done over the past seven years," remarks Olivier Vidal.
The new plant and equipment and the new assembly processes have made it possible to incorporate production principles such as zero defect, teamwork, just-in-time supply and ongoing improvement into the system from the design stage. This means that the new products will directly benefit from these enhancements.
All systems go
"We are ready, and all our plant and equipment are ready. The development process has been completed and we have now moved into the operator training phase. When full production starts in June, we will have already manufactured more than 500 vehicles for the research and development team, for trials and tests, etc. This means that the first vehicles we deliver will meet every expectation in terms of quality. We are now impatiently waiting to start delivering trucks from the new range to our customers!" says Olivier Vidal in conclusion.
The period of waiting is now drawing towards its close. The new Renault Trucks range will be presented in Lyon on 11 June.