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Efficiency Program

Laser Fast Savings

The foundry in Kassel has been reducing waste and saving hundreds of thousands of euros a year. The idea comes from the Speed efficiency program, and will start in series production in September.

Employee Max Macha with an engine block: He helped develop a new process that reduces the number of rejects.

In the future, a large proportion of ­engine blocks from the foundry in Kassel will be treated with a portable laser welding unit instead of going back into the furnace as waste. This laser unit can perfectly seal up the tiny cavities, just millimeters in size, that form when aluminum cools in the foundry. The blocks can then be further processed as normal.

This new process has undergone a pilot phase of extensive testing, and will now be used in series production starting in September. This will save the foundry hundreds of thousands of euros a year – m0ney that otherwise would literally melt away.

Max Macha, a technical specialist in die-casting at the foundry for Volkswagen Kassel, played a key role in developing the new process. “It’s normal for small cavities to form in die-cast components. But they become a challenge when sealing surfaces that have to be absolutely flat, for example.”

About a million engine blocks are produced at the foundry in Kassel every year. Around 4 percent of these show irregularities due to cavities during subsequent stages of processing at the engine plants, and have to be corrected. These will now be handled by the laser-welding process developed jointly by the foundry, technical development, and quality assurance. According to Macha, it has additional potential for die-cast parts. “We are assessing whether the process can be used for other components too.”

Components goes for Speed

The Components division is ­compiling all the initiatives to make work more efficient into its ­specialized Speed program. As a result, the components division is contributing to the Volkswagen brand’s Efficiency Program. Speed is an abbreviation made up of the German words for quick, professional, efficient, honest and long-lasting. You can find out more on Group Connect, where Thomas Schmall will be holding a ­“Components chat” on the Speed program between 3 and 4 p.m. on Tuesday, August 23.