Production will then move into the new building and the old building will be demolished by 2018.
The new building will be 20,000 square metres, and will be home to AVS systems manufacturing as well as the local R&D centre, according to Broux.
The added capacity, said Broux, has already secured off-takes with a “big project” with car-maker Ford.
“We have tried to make the new plant efficient in every way, using Industry 4.0 tools and technology,” said the French boss.
“In terms of Industry 4.0, we have virtually designed the whole site in 3D, so one can pay a virtual visit to the plant,” explained Broux.
This, according to Broux, allows plant engineers to move machinery appropriately and see, in simulation, if everything is going well.
The virtual modelling will also help material flow at the plant, he added.
A consortium involving Schnieder Electrics as well as a number of local start-ups has been involved in developing the technology for the plant.
In Vitré, where Cooper Standard produces automotive seals, the company is increasing its production area by 3,000 square metres to 30,000 square metres, to house some of the equipment from Rennes and to expand production.
“Vitré is such a full-on site and is fast growing in sales,” he explained.
The site has increased its annual sales from €90 million in 2009 to upwards of €120 million in 2015.
The site, according to Broux, supplies to all European car manufacturers as well as some auto-makers further afield, including South Korea’s Hyundai.
The Schneider-led consortium will also improve the technology at this plant as part of the expansion project.