Case Study: Saint-Gobain’s 3D Printed Tooling to save time, money and better their production efficiency

3 Mins read
Saint Gobain uses BCN3D’s FFF 3D printers to improve production efficiency
Above: Saint Gobain uses BCN3D’s FFF 3D printers to improve production efficiency/Source: BCN3D Technologies

Faced with the challenge of increasing its production efficiency, Saint-Gobain decided to rely on BCN3D Technologies’ printers to develop 3D printed tooling solutions to improve the efficiency of its automotive production line.

See how Saint-Gobain saved roughly 170,000 euros while cutting tooling lead times by 93 percent.

The Problem

Saint-Gobain, a French multinational that manufactures glazing for a range of industrial sectors, is looking to the future of manufacturing and how it can continue to improve the manufacturing efficiency of its automobile production line. The old methods appear to have reached their limit, causing the efficiency output to saturate at a particular level.

They intended to increase their production efficiencies even more in order to provide better service to their global clients.

The Solution

Above: In house 3D Printed tooling brings an efficiency overhaul to Saint Gobain’s production line/Source: Saint-Gobain/YouTube

Saint-Gobain decided to incorporate FFF 3D printing machines offered by by the Barcelona-based multinational BCN3D Technologies and use it to create 3D printed tooling solutions. It considers the company as a perfect match for its future goals towards incorporating 3D printing into its manufacturing workflow and thereby to increase the efficiency of its manufacturing processes.

The Process

Saint-Barcelona Gobain's plant
Above: Saint-Barcelona Gobain’s plant/Source: Saint-Gobain

Saint-Barcelona Gobain’s plant, as a result, decided to incorporate 3D printing technology (including IDEX Technology) in its workshop with several BCN3D Epsilon W50 series printers and Smart Cabinets, allowing the multinational to develop new ideas, easily and conveniently create new prototypes in a shorter period of time compared to other machining technologies, and carry out tests and end-use parts in a matter of days, all while maintaining the highest quality.

Saint-Gobain incorporated additive manufacturing into tooling, allowing for the fabrication of vehicle back and side panels.

The process starts with a completely automated robot line, where the glazing is cut to shape, the sides are smoothed, and designated aesthetic features are applied. The glaze is then gathered and baked to form the curves. Fresh from the furnace, the glazing is tested for dimensions and quality before being classified as pass or fail for manual inspection.

The Success (With 3D Printed Tooling)

In house 3D Printed tooling brings an efficiency overhaul to Saint Gobain's production line
Above: In house 3D Printed tooling brings an efficiency overhaul to Saint Gobain’s production line/Source: BCN3D Technologies

Since 2019, Saint-Sekurit Gobain’s business unit at the L’Arboç plant, which produces 19 million different automotive glazing units (backlites and sidelites) per year, has incorporated 3D printing technology after outsourcing for years the manufacture of tooling, which it entrusted to mechanised processes at much higher costs compared to 3D printing.

Since using this additive manufacturing technique, Saint-Spanish Gobain’s plant has saved approximately 170,000 euros and reduced tooling lead times by 93 percent. 3D printed parts are used for everything from tools, jigs, and fittings to quality control.

Saint-Gobain was able to reduce tooling costs by 93%
Above: Saint-Gobain was able to reduce tooling lead time by 93%/Source: BCN3D Technologies

This success story shows how BCN3D’s 3D printing technology can be of considerable aid to the automobile sector and cements the additive manufacturing solutions manufacturer situated in Gavà, Barcelona, as a global strategic partner of this industrial sector. This lawsuit follows the recent installation of its equipment into the production lines of Seat and Nissan.

“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 and tooling since we incorporated this technology compared to external suppliers we used in the past.”

– Angel Salas, Saint-Gobain’s maintenance engineer at the Barcelona factory

The Future

Thanks to BCN3D 3D printers and various innovative technological solutions, Saint-Gobain engineers at its plant in L’Arboç, Barcelona, can now significantly improve efficiency in the manufacturing processes of parts and components for its automotive customers, including Daimler Mercedes, Stellantis Group, Volkswagen Group, Renault Dacia, and Ford. The French conglomerate’s Spanish factory improved and cut costs and times by generating 3D printed tooling for automated lines.

The company may even consider expanding its 3D printing presence in order to not only increase efficiency but also to capitalise on this USP in the future.

About Manufactur3D Magazine: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D Printing which publishes the latest 3D printing news, insights and analysis from all around the world. To stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Manufactur3D is an Indian Online 3D Printing Media Platform that reports on the latest news, insights and analysis from the Indian and the Global 3D Printing Industry.
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