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The employee magazine
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Innovation

50 Innovations from Kassel

Transformation in e-mobility, new products and increased efficiency will secure the future.


Volkswagen in Kassel is securing the site’s transformation into a leading plant for electric drives with increased productivity and higher quality, expanding existing production capabilities, and securing employment in North Hesse. Only a few days ago at the site symposium in Kassel, the component manager, plant manager and Works Council emphasized that the site can look to the approaching challenges with confidence. Employees presented more than 50 innovative ideas, concepts and solutions to prepare the site for the long-term future. Increased assembly and plant efficiency are the focus of ongoing process optimizations. This will make the site even more profitable and competitive.

"The Kassel team has shown impressively that it is well-equipped for challenges in production."

Component Manager Thomas Schmall

Component Manager Thomas Schmall commented: "The Kassel team has shown impressively that it is well-equipped for challenges in production. Necessary changes for increased productivity and competitiveness are being resolutely implemented. As a result, the North Hessian plant is making a significant contribution to the Group’s ‘Roadmap E’ strategy, the most extensive electrification campaign in our industry. This will secure the future of the site."

The Kassel Volkswagen plant is also working hard to implement the Pact for the Future. Employees presented 50 projects, including projects to improve processes in manufacturing as well as a more advanced shop floor management system. This work method ensures a uniform communication flow between management, department managers, foremen and employees.

An example of the vibrant transformation process is the structural change in the "forming technology/exhaust system" division. Hot forming is increasingly taking the place of cold forming. Employees have been resolutely implementing the strategy in the pressing facility, and have been able to reduce manufacturing costs by seven million euros thanks to a number of improvement measures. This was achieved through the digitalization of work processes, higher utilization of the machinery, batch production, cycle time reduction and more efficient tool changes. The "exhaust systems" division also presented further measures to increase productivity and return on investment.

Plant Manager Thorsten Jablonski said: "In the past year, we have been working on the issues of ‘cost’ and ‘productivity’. At the symposium, we showed that we are continuously optimizing our production processes and have been able to implement many great ideas. We have set the right course for the future with the development and industrialization of the drives for the new modular electrification toolkit. The symposium shone the spotlight on the fantastic team effort that has taken place over this last year."

The production for the new MEB drive will start in September 2018. For the Group’s core brand, the Kassel plant has been a center of expertise for electric drives for many years. Products from Kassel are installed in all electric Volkswagen models, as well as an in the Audi A3 e-tron¹. The know-how developed there is applied on an international level, guaranteeing cost-effective electric drives with high quality worldwide.
 

"We have set the right course for the future with the development and industrialization of the drives for the new modular electrification toolkit."

Plant Manager Thorsten Jablonski

The gearbox assembly division at Volkswagen Kassel stands out for its increasing productivity, growing turnover and enhanced production processes. For example, the optimization measures for the DL382 gearbox assembly line were presented at the symposium. Thanks to improved production processes, productivity there has increased by almost 30 percent. One of the current challenges is increasing the quantity of DQ381 gearboxes produced.

In Europe’s largest light metal foundry, chip recycling will save up to ten million euros annually. The system will be built in the course of the second half of the year. The division presented even further potential savings of up to one million euros, resulting from the recycling of copper. Scrap copper from the Kassel plant can be processed so that it can be reused to re-alloy aluminum melt.

Meanwhile, an example of a new measure to prepare for a transformed working world with targeted training is the "Elektro@IT" program. The aim is to counteract the anticipated skill shortage in the field of IT early. To achieve this, a structured analysis of need in the specialist divisions will be carried out, and IT talent identified and trained to meet these areas of need. This will ensure stable IT support and maintenance.

Chairman of the Works Council, Carsten Bätzold remarked: "The symposium, which was conceived by the works council many years ago, is all about letting the different sites present their innovations and achievements directly to the management. Securing employment and investment is an important part of this. Here at the Kassel plant, employees are constantly demonstrating how much we can achieve with a well-educated workforce."

The Group’s "after sales" division, which is based at the site, presented a joint project with the power unit reprocessing division. This way, the division will reduce warranty costs and provide expanded, competitive customer offers for older vehicles. The division presented a measure to process a DQ200 gearbox according to target values. This will increase the recycling quota and save resources.

"Here at the Kassel plant, employees are constantly demonstrating how much we can achieve with a well-educated workforce."

Chairman of the Works Council, Carsten Bätzold