The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand

Production Sites

A Show of Achievements

Site symposium in Emden: Employees Tamara Tatjes and Hanno Helmers show Brand CEO Dr. Herbert Diess the optimized cable routing on a training car body.


Symposium in Emden: New models, greater capacity and increased productivity will secure the future of the site

  • Team presents more than 30 focus projects
  • Production of Arteon for US market will begin within the year
  • Exemplary solutions for age and health-appropriate work

Emden - With more than 30 focus projects, which were discussed by the management team and works council at today's site symposium, Volkswagen Emden is positioning itself for the future. Growing productivity and the highest quality standards provide the optimum prerequisites for manufacturing further products, such as the Arteon for the US market later this year, followed by the Arteon shooting brake, a coupe with a hatchback and even more useful space. The bundling of the entire Passat series will also go ahead as planned.

Volkswagen Product Manager Dr. Andreas Tostmann remarked, "The plant and its team are supporting the brand's biggest model campaign in history. The new models will result in greater utilization of the site. Combined with increased productivity and quality, this will ensure Emden's competitiveness, completely in the spirit of the 'Pact for the Future.'"

Plant Manager Andreas Dick said, "With a strong team effort, we have made considerable progress at the plant in recent years. We are giving our all to continuing down this successful path and resolutely implementing the projects presented at the symposium. By doing so, we are driving forward the modernization of the production facilities, improving our processes and creating the basis for securing the future of the Emden site."

Chairman of the Works Council Peter Jacobs added, "We want to build on the success of the Passat sedan, Passat variant and Arteon with a fourth model. That is why we have presented to brand management where we are as a plant, what efforts we have made and what objectives we are pursuing to ensure that Emden remains well-equipped for the future. The jointly developed Factory 2020+ concept must be decided and implemented as planned. This entails the long-term sustainability of the plant's capacity and the introduction of carbon-neutral production and electromobility."

One of the many projects presented at the symposium for greater productivity, quality and ergonomics was refueling. Refueling will now take place automatically, using an innovative camera system. In the paint shop, cosmetic sealing on components like the trunk lid and doors will also be applied automatically using robots and measuring technology. Another new introduction to the assembly line is the automated installation of the cockpit.

To promote age and health-appropriate work, the plant in Emden, for example, has made it possible for employees with limited capacity to continue working in the core production facility, thanks to a new normal shift model. Newly created ergonomic work stations will enable employees with limitations in ability and capacity to continue working on existing teams.

To save CO2, the Logistics department is partially replacing its HGV transport with intermodal transport. As a result, materials for the Emden plant will now be delivered by rail, with only some routes continuing to use HGVs. As a result, from June of this year, materials will be supplied on three freight trains instead of 100 trucks per week. 16 suppliers in Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland will deliver their vehicle components to a central reloading point in Dresden. From there, the cargo will be transported to Emden by train. This reduces CO₂ emissions by 75 percent - a total of 4,725 metric tons of CO₂ per year, which corresponds to the average consumption of around 2,000 households. As well as benefiting the environment, the project will also boost profitability in regard to increasing logistics costs.

Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen brand, tests a functional work jacket to program a robot.


Symposium at Volkswagen in Saxony: e-Mobility and excellence in production will secure the future of sites in Saxony

  • Employees at Volkswagen Saxony present innovations for the production world of tomorrow - such as the "eValley Saxony" project center
  • Ulbrich: Pioneering role as the world's first MEB production site
  • Fiebig: Innovations from Saxony are impressive
  • Rothe: Training and equipping the workforce

Zwickau - Its resolute approach to becoming an e-mobility site and the expansion of existing production capacities is securing the future of Volkswagen and its workforce in Saxony. The three locations - Zwickau, Chemnitz and Dresden - can look optimistically to the challenges ahead. This was a key message from brand management and the works council at the site symposium in Zwickau. Employees presented numerous innovative ideas and solutions for the mobility of the future. The central focus was the preparation of the production facilities for the modular electric drive toolkit (MEB), as well as the ongoing manufacture of vehicles and engines, plus bodywork for Bentley and Lamborghini.

Thomas Ulbrich, member of the Volkswagen brand group for e-Mobility and the new spokesperson for the management board of Volkswagen Saxony, emphasized Zwickau's pioneering role as the Group's first MEB site in the world. "We are well on course. The first machines and systems are already being converted as planned - at the same time as the ongoing production of the Golf and Passat. From mid-2019, we will then continue to gradually prepare our production facilities for electromobility." The first I.D. models are expected to roll off the production line in late 2019. By the end of 2020, Zwickau will exclusively produce MEB electric vehicles - up to 1,500 vehicles per day, such as the I.D. and I.D. Crozz, including for other brands in the Group. "The Transparent Factory in Dresden will further solidify its role as a show window for e-mobility, and will also manufacture MEB vehicles in future," says Ulbrich.

At the site symposium, employees presented their innovations for efficient production in the future. One example of how the world of work is changing is the newly created "eValley Saxony" project center. There, employees from all departments are working together with partners of Volkswagen and other brands in the Group. The aim is to shape the workplaces and processes of tomorrow, free from hierarchy and departmental divisions, in close proximity to production, and internationally connected. Logistics employees presented a factory navigation system they had developed themselves that makes the use of "tugger trains" for supplying materials to the production lines more flexible. This minimizes downtime and costs. A self-sufficient power supply and energy storage form the basis of a future project in the Zwickau Customer and Service Center. In this project, the batteries of current e-vehicles will be reused a second time after use in the vehicle with a new second life module. Flexible automated solutions that can be expanded in a modular format for stacking parts in the press shop and container handling in the vehicle assembly line will improve ergonomics and productivity.

At the symposium, Prof. Dr. Siegfried Fiebig, departing spokesperson of the management board for Volkswagen Saxony, also praised the company's existing close connection with the region. "Together we are shaping our future in Saxony. We are working on innovative mobility projects for the future in cooperation with the cities of Dresden and Zwickau, as well as in alliance with 'Zwickau AG' to increase the attractiveness of the region. We have repositioned the Transparent Factory in Dresden as a future location and 'showcase for e-mobility.' Saxony is a traditional automotive region and e-mobility has given it a clear perspective."

Also presented at Zwickau was an example of digitalized maintenance in the Chemnitz engine production facility. Employees are given specific instructions well in advance thanks to sensors and the corresponding measured data. As a result, they can order spare parts in advance - before machine failures and wear on parts can even occur. This saves time and money and promotes process stability.
For Jens Rothe, Chair of the Works Council and Acting Chair of the Supervisory Board, the ideas developed and presented by the employees are powerful evidence of the team's innovative ability. "We will need much more of that in the future." With the MEB vehicles, their electric drives and battery management, along with the new electronic architecture in the vehicle and increasing automation of production, a large-scale training initiative will be necessary. "The point is to equip and prepare our employees to meet these new challenges. We need to expand our knowledge and understanding, and support those who are no longer able to work at full capacity after many years of working for us." Rothe also praised the production of the Cityskater, which was unveiled in Geneva and will be produced at the St. Egidien site starting in the fall. "The project was developed by employees on site. Up to 20 employees with health-related limitations will be able to find new workplaces there in future. That, too, is part of our company culture."

Site symposium at Volkswagen Wolfsburg: Management board, plant management and works council on a tour of the component area, seen here in the chassis division.


Symposium in Wolfsburg: Securing the future of the site with higher productivity and quality

  • Workshops, ideas and solutions from the team improve processes in vehicle manufacturing and components
  • Diess: The Wolfsburg plant is becoming increasingly competitive

Wolfsburg - Volkswagen's main plant in Wolfsburg is securing its future with increased productivity and high quality. At today's site symposium, the team presented the management board and works council with innovative ideas, concepts and solutions to equip its vehicle manufacturing and components even better for the future.

Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen brand, said, "The Wolfsburg plant serves as a role model in the worldwide production network of our brand. I'm therefore very pleased to see that the plant is becoming increasingly competitive. The 'Pact for the Future' is taking effect and delivering results. The team has set itself many new goals for this year. It's all about continuing to improve productivity and quality. This way, the plant can ensure maximum utilization and continue to stand for the production of top-quality vehicles and components in future."

Chair of the Works Council Bernd Osterloh remarked, "The symposium, which was conceived by the works council many years ago, is all about letting the different sites present their innovations directly to the management board and works council. Securing employment and creating new jobs is an important part of this. Right here in Wolfsburg, employees are constantly demonstrating how much we can achieve with a well-educated workforce."

Volkswagen Product Manager Dr. Andreas Tostmann said, "The Wolfsburg team has shown quite impressively that it is not only prepared for the challenges ahead in production and logistics, but that it is resolutely implementing the necessary changes for more productivity and greater competitiveness. This will secure the future of the site."

One of the challenges at the Wolfsburg site is the production launch of the Seat Tarraco SUV and the impending preparations for the production of the next Golf generation. The plant's Logistics department will expand the autonomous transport of goods following the motto, "Everything flows." More than 150 driverless transport system will gradually improve the flow of materials in the bodyshop and on the assembly line. A pilot project is also underway, in which a 4K camera will automatically scan material deliveries, and goods will be posted considerably more quickly and without errors through self-learning software. The system, which is currently unique within the company, has already won the Logistics Innovation Prize. At the symposium, HR Marketing presented its new "Recruiting Project Center," which will rapidly and flexibly recruit IT and digitalization experts in collaboration with the Digital Lab in Berlin. Series Analysis presented an innovative template, which visualizes the precise distance of the trunk lid by means of a spring pressure indicator during fitting in the bodywork. In contrast to the previous, simple template, which had to be frequently reapplied, the new optimized method delivers maximum accuracy within a much shorter time.

Site Manager Dr. Stefan Loth commented, "For the sake of our plant and its future, we want to drive forward our three core factors: productivity, quality and teamwork." In this vein, the processes in the production systems have been equipped for future challenges with around 400 workshops planned for 2018.

The component divisions, Plastics and Chassis in Wolfsburg, are preparing for the electromobility of the future with innovative products. For example, at the component symposium in Wolfsburg, the Plastics division presented a new, exceptionally light trunk lid for the next generation of electric vehicles: the Group's first ever plastic trunk lid. The Chassis division presented the drive shaft for e-vehicles, which will provide high performance in a compact space.

In addition to product innovations, both component divisions presented a variety of process innovations on the shop floor. Numerous great ideas from the team have helped both component divisions to meet and even exceed their efficiency targets as part of the Pact for the Future.

Component Manager Thomas Schmall remarked, "The Chassis and Plastics teams in Wolfsburg, managed by Martin Schmuck and Nico Brandenburg, have worked very hard to successfully increase efficiency and implement operational excellence on all levels. At the same time, they are actively shaping our transformation in electromobility with innovative products for our new e-vehicles."

Developer Christopher Kreis (left) explains the steer-by-wire system in the test vehicle to Dr. Herbert Diess. The steering mechanism is a key technology for automated driving.


Site symposium: Volkswagen bundles battery system skills for the whole of Europe in Brunswick

  • Volkswagen Brunswick will build up to half a million battery systems a year for electric vehicles
  • Brand CEO Diess: We are giving our all to developing and producing the electric cars of the future in Germany
  • Component Manager Schmall: The Brunswick plant will become a hub for the battery systems of the future

Brunswick - Volkswagen Brunswick has been awarded the task of developing and producing batteries for the modular electric drive toolkit (MEB). In future, up to half a million battery systems will be produced for electric vehicles from the Volkswagen brand and other brands in the group. "The Volkswagen brand is giving its all to developing and producing the electric cars of the future in Germany. The battery system is an elementary part of the value chain - and we are bundling the skills for this important technology for the whole of Europe in Brunswick," said Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen brand.

The site symposium also saw numerous ideas and solutions presented for even better processes and increased efficiency in installation and systems. These will enable the component plant to further increase its profitability and competitiveness. In addition to the new battery systems, the team will also develop components for the vehicles of the future, such as vibration absorbers and steering systems for autonomous vehicles.

Component Manager Thomas Schmall said: "In the last few years, the Brunswick site has built up extensive know-how in the development and production of battery systems. Otto Joos and his team have already successfully overseen the MQB to serial production." With the commission for the modular electric drive toolkit (MEB), the site will further establish itself "as a central driver of the Volkswagen electromobility strategy".

Plant Manager Otto Joos said: "Today's confirmation that production will be expanded for battery systems, with up to half a million units per year for the group, is a fantastic acknowledgment of the team in Brunswick's hard work and commitment." This will give the site "a clear perspective for the future, with which we can go full steam ahead towards the MEB".

Chairman of the Works Council, Uwe Fritsch remarked: "The Brunswick plant is at the center of the ongoing reorganization. This also affects many employees, who are being prepared for new activities. Their skills in the development and installation of battery systems will make an enormous contribution to the development of e-mobility at Volkswagen. This will secure jobs at the site in the long term."

At an assembly line for gasoline engines, Andreas Libowski (right) of the HRC team in Salzgitter introduces one of the 14 cooperating robots at the site.


Symposium: Salzgitter Site Creates Reliable Prospects for the Future with New Engines and Components for Electric Vehicles

  • 1,600 efficiency measures drawn from workforce are improving productivity
  • Location is developing as laid down in the Pact for the Future
  • Entry into e-mobility coming into view

Salzgitter - Improved processes in the development and production of combustion engines and components for electric drives are making Volkswagen Salzgitter more and more efficient. During the symposium held at the site, employees presented the Management Board and the Works Council with more than 30 projects for production optimizations, greater investment efficiency and maximum quality. The event also focused on the forthcoming production start-up of even more efficient diesel and gasoline engines, the development and production of components for electric vehicles, and progress in the accumulation of expertise for the battery cell.

Component Manager Thomas Schmall commented: "The team in Salzgitter has overcome the challenges so far with flexibility and know-how and introduced a large range of optimizations at the symposium. On the one hand, the team is taking machines that have already been in use for many years and getting them into shape for new products. On the other hand, fields with potential for the future are being addressed in a systematic fashion - from the integration into production of cooperating robots to the battery cell."

Christian Bleiel, Plant Manager Salzgitter and head of the Engine Division, said: "The Salzgitter site is developing as laid down in the Pact for the Future. We're implementing its contents point by point, safeguarding jobs and generating the resources to get into e-mobility. In the process, we're drawing on ideas from the whole workforce: so far, we've worked on more than 1,600 measures, and we've become much more efficient. Now we're starting to set up equipment for the rotor and stator production - our entry into large-batch production of electric vehicle parts."

The chairman of the Works Council Salzgitter, Andreas Blechner, confirmed that the location convinced the Management Board of its productivity and capacity for innovation: "I'm especially pleased that Dr. Diess shares the view of the Works Council and likewise believes that a company like Volkswagen needs the expertise and capacity to manufacture battery cells."

Among the 30 projects introduced in Salzgitter for creating efficiency and safeguarding the future viability of the site, one was dedicated to "shopfloor management," a method of working that ensures uniform lines of communication among management, department heads, foremen and workers. Using the example of a gasoline engine assembly line, the team in Salzgitter showed how the shopfloor-management method is lowering costs, stabilizing processes, and improving quality as well as employee satisfaction. Important instruments in this connection include employee workshops with resulting efficiency measures, the digital shopfloor portal and an electronic shift log. In one year, the availability of equipment and the productivity of the line were significantly improved.

Another topic was human-robot collaboration (HRC) at the Salzgitter plant. There are already 14 cooperating robots in use on the assembly lines to boost productivity and improve ergonomics. The specialists of the plant's own HRC team ensure that they are set up, programmed and operated in a cost-effective manner.

Another area of emphasis at the symposium was investment efficiency in the context of the change in manufacturing capacities for new diesel and gasoline engines. For cylinder blocks and cylinder heads, the site introduced "standardized mounting concepts" with which production lines can be readied much more quickly and inexpensively. The site also avoided substantial costs in connection with the installation of new VR6 engines with existing equipment. The engines are used in the Teramont (China) and the Atlas (United States).

There was also a focus on future products. Before the end of the year, for instance, pilot production of the rotor and stator will get underway for the Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB).

With the Center of Excellence Battery (CoE), Salzgitter is building up battery cell expertise for the Group. The site is training some of its employees and bringing experts on board. At the symposium, the team in Salzgitter introduced the activities and objectives of the laboratory and manufacturing areas currently being set up there.

Another topic was the development of efficient electric ancillary units that can be used in the upcoming electrified drive technologies and simultaneously in conventional drives.