CV Sector News Van

Sandouville completes its transformation by building the new Trafic

16 June 2014 #CV Sector #News #Van

News from Renault: The Sandouville plant will for the first time build Renault’s all-new Trafic starting this summer, and will be constructed alongside the high-roof Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro, which marks the transition of the plant from passenger car to light commercial vehicles.

Fifty years on sees Sandouville change its original focus of building cars in order to meet the growing demand, to help Renault increase its LCV share. Sandouville has built more than eight million vehicles. The site has specialised in passenger cars since its founding, building first  R 16, then R 12 (1970), R 15 and R 17 (1972), R 30 (1975), R 20 (1976), R 18 (1978), R 25 in 1984, R 21 in 1986, Safrane in 1992, Laguna in 1992, Vel Satis in 2001, Espace IV in 2002, and Laguna III in 2007.

In 2011, the Renault group announced plans to invest €230 million in the long-term future of the Sandouville plant as part of a new project: to build light commercial vehicles at the site rather than passenger cars. It was keen to relocate production of the new Trafic along with the high-roof version of the Opel / Vauxhall Vivaro. The entire Renault brand LCV range for Europe will now be built in France: Kangoo at Maubeuge, Master at Batilly and Trafic at Sandouville.

It took three years to change and transform the plant, which included:

  • The press shop which required more than 5,000 tonnes of cast iron to manufacture LCV production line tooling.
  • In body assembly: 20,000 m² of space was freed up to install new tooling with 187 new robots to make the 5,000 spot welds required to assemble the body of New Trafic.
  • In the paint shop: a complete transformation was necessary to adapt the process to LCV dimensions. The anti-corrosion treatment tunnel was raised by 70cm and the paint booth extended by 12m. Resources specific to LCVs were put in place: cradles and conveyor belts to help operators adopt the correct positioning in applying part of the 120m of mastic beading, and interior robots to apply mastic and paint the interior of the van. This process is unnecessary on passenger cars, since the interior is lined.
  • In final assembly, employees at Villiers-Saint-Frédéric and Sandouville have put in place the new LCV line. Until summer 2011, Espace IV and Laguna III were built on two separate lines. In September 2011, the two passenger cars were moved to the same line. As part of this process, 130 machines were moved, upgraded or acquired, and 240 assembly line workstations adapted. Owing to its specific dimensions, New Trafic has a dedicated line.

This transformation also marks a cultural shift and a human challenge that paves the way for a return to two production shifts.

Jérome Moinard, Director of the Sandouville plant, said, “The transition from building passenger cars to building LCVs is a major industrial event and a new page in the history of Sandouville. After three years of work and an investment of €230 million, the site is like new, whereas in reality, it is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The site is at a pivotal point, closing one chapter and beginning another. For plant employees, it is first and foremost a source of pride and the promise of a secure future.”

Update Newsletter