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Production Sites

Powerful bond

From the idea to series production: the Wolfsburg and Pamplona sites have made big improvements in laser soldering.

This team of Pamplona plant in Spain is responsible for the important further development.

Joining panels is a fundamental skill in vehicle construction. Volkswagen has been using the innovative laser soldering technique to join the roof and side sections of vehicles together for several years now. This is because it produces a continuous and particularly neat weld seam. The Wolfsburg and Pamplona (Spain) sites have now been working together to make further improvements to this welding technique. It is already being used for the construction of the new Polo in Pamplona and Uitenhage (South Africa) as well as for the T-Roc in Palmela, Portugal.

The challenge presented by laser ­soldering is that up to now it could only be used for joining electrolytically galvanized sheet metal, as the sheets have a uniform surface structure. However, hot-dip galvanized sheet metal is less expensive. Furthermore, it is easy to source all over the world, and for a high-volume manufacturer such as Volkswagen, which is active across the globe, this is of inestimable value.

Technology Planning and Development in Wolfsburg has now joined forces with colleagues from Body Assembly, Quality Assurance and Maintenance in Pamplona to make further improvements to laser welding so that it can also be used on hot-dip galvanized sheet metal. This method has meanwhile reached series maturity. “Without the outstanding support of the Spanish site, this innovative and technologically challenging project would not have been possible,” says Martin Goede, Head of Technology Planning and Development, in praise of the collaboration.

Factory of the future

The improved laser soldering method is the contribution of Production and Logistics to creating competitive factories of the future – factories that cater to specific vehicle and regional requirements. This will reduce the costs of ­producing a vehicle by up to 50 percent – something that is also specified in the department strategy TRANSFORM.FACTORY+.