Developing the Auto Industry of the Future

Niculae Boicea, Head of Research and Innovation at RTR
Niculae Boicea, Head of Research and Innovation at RTR

French auto leader Renault has a strong presence in Romania, not only in manufacturing but also in R&D. Renault Technologie Roumanie (RTR) is the Renault group’s research and development division in the Romanian market. Niculae Boicea, following a long career in materials science within Dacia and the academic area, is Head of Research and Innovation at RTR. He discusses the company’s current and future projects.

European Times: What is the function of RTR within the Renault-Dacia group in Romania?

Niculae Boicea: Renault Technologie Roumanie was established as a separate company from Dacia in 2006. The new company incorporated the engineering department from Dacia and also recruited new talents. Progressively, we became the engineering hub for developing all models in the Logan range worldwide. We also broadened our research focus to include projects with many partners, particularly universities and research institutes.

European Times: What are some of your current projects?

Niculae Boicea: We are in charge off all new models and adaptations for one of the most complex ranges of Renault, so that takes up most of our time.

In the innovation area, we try to work with different partners to develop new ideas, making the most out of the local creativity and potential.

We are currently developing a laser spark plug in partnership with the National Institute for Laser, Plasma and Radiation Physics, and we are researching a new welding process – friction welding – in partnership with the Institute of Welding (ISIM), the Polytechnic University in Timisoara and the University of Pitesti. Our other projects include ones with the Technical University of Construction in Bucharest (UTCB), the National Institute of Aerospace Research “Elie Carafoli”, the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca and the University of Pitesti.

European Times: How do you encourage engineers to innovate?

Niculae Boicea: Renault has always invested heavily in training people in design and development. In RTR, we recently launched a “laboratory of creativity”, an open space in which all employees can participate. It is equipped with 3D printers, books, literature, various workshops, presentations and more. We want to attract creative people to work with us. We are also encouraging universities to take part in our actions, in order to better prepare students to meet the needs of industries.

European Times: What are RTR’s goals for the future?

Niculae Boicea: As a complete automotive engineering centre, the only one in the region, RTR is looking to consolidate its skills regarding the management of the Logan range, for future and current models, which we want to develop alongside market and technology trends.