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15/11/2021 News

SCHWARZY plays it local with TotalEnergies

In Pau and Tarbes, researchers and students innovate with 3D printing for the heat exchangers of the future

  • Manufacturing new generation heat exchangers.
  • Watch the video to find out all about the results of the collaborative work done by TotalEnergies and the students from South West France.

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is a technology of the future that helps rapidly and cost-effectively produce spare parts for the various activity sectors of the broad-energy Company.


Schwarzy federates local competencies

Its ambition? To design new-generation exchangers using 3D printing, the only technology currently able to create shapes that are complex, mathematical or inspired by nature.   Kicked off by TotalEnergies, the Schwarzy project – whose name refers to the Schwarz Diamond, a softly-shaped elementary cube – lays particular emphasis on local competencies (thesis defenses with students, numerical simulation, cameras, etc.). The first small-scale prototyping phase was therefore carried out by the TotalEnergies Booster* using 3D printing based on Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) using bisourced and biodegradable plastic filaments. The second stage was entrusted to the IUT (University Technology Institute) of Tarbes, renowned for its competencies in selective laser sintering. After validation of the polymer prototypes, the CEF3D research platform of the National Engineering School (ENIT) of Tarbes took over to produce a metal version specifically for testing purposes. The very first 3D-printed heat exchanger was born, a real disruptive technology. The next mission, entrusted to the teachers-researchers and students of the Thermal engineering and energy IUT in Pau, was to run tests using real fluids.   


Collaborating, inventing, testing 

The collaborative work method implemented by the R&D teams to conduct the Schwarzy project is particularly innovative and is based on invention and iteration. Both partners made their own contributions to the project, pooling their efforts in a “Test & Learn” approach, similar to a successive trial and error process, whereby the results of experiments are rapidly analyzed and implemented in the modeling phases. With this project, TotalEnergies is confirming its ambition to develop collaborative R&D projects with local partners and thereby support regional growth. Schwarzy can be qualified as a local industrial game changer. The initial results are positive, and the project is continuing to develop more larger exchangers with a finer grid. 3D printing marks a turning point in the digital development of TotalEnergies. The objective is to deliver an innovative and sustainable solution. 

Watch the informative video below to find out all about the manufacturing of this new generation of heat exchangers in partnership with the students of Tarbes and Pau. 

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* The Booster in Pau: a catalyst for innovative ideas and projects that emulates the model and practices used in start-ups.