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Strategy

PDP revitalized

Production is now exerting more influence on the design and construction of new models − and at an earlier stage − in collaboration with vehicle Development and Design. This saves time and money.

Take the tail light, for example: how should it look? The production planner goes to the developer and designer with a concept agreed on within the department. Even at the earliest stages of the project, they are working together to come up with a design. And that saves time and money.

Production implements what development and design have created − that’s how it used to be! Today the department participates earlier and more intensively than before on developing a vehicle. In particular, Production makes sure that the developers and designers plan the new models in such a way that they can be built easily and efficiently on the line. This is specified in the area of activity “Designed for Manufacturing” in the division’s TRANSFORM.FACTORY+ strategy.

The stronger influence that production experts are able to exercise on the product architecture has become apparent, for example, in the PDP for the next Golf. PDP stands for Product Development Process. To design the rear of a vehicle, for ­instance, production drew up eight ­requirements that had to be met in order to avoid costly modifications and ­readjustments. “Seven of them could be implemented thanks to constant ­collaboration between Development,  Design and Production,” says Henning Jacob, head of Product Influencing and Concept Parity in the Wolfsburg pilot hall.

» With respect to product design alone, the time needed to produce a Golf of the next generation can be reduced by more than one hour. «

Another example: A line on the rear of the vehicle that is still present in the current generation will be removed on the Golf 8. That line makes it particularly difficult to precisely align the spoiler on the trunk lid, Jacob explains. A lot of time and rework could be saved here. In addition, it’s no longer as necessary to the degree that it once was for Production employees to apply a bodywork sealant manually on the areas around the trunk lid that are difficult to reach. As Jacob explains, “This work is time-intensive and expensive, and it isn’t ergonomic, either.”

Why were these particular points selected for the application of the new approach? Under the motto “Lessons learned,” ­employees in the central pilot hall in Wolfsburg compiled a list of issues that Golf teams at the plants in Wolfsburg and Zwickau, Germany; Puebla, Mexico; ­Curitiba, Brazil; and Foshan, China had encountered during production of the Golf 7, which has been ongoing since 2012. The result: with respect to product design alone, the time needed to produce a Golf of the next generation can be reduced by more than one hour.

Designed for Manufacturing

Vehicles of the next generation will, for example, drive ­autonomously and therefore be designed differently. Which means they will also be built
differently. That’s why it’s necessary to change production technology in the factories. At the same time, the ­application of a new, innovative production technology (for example, 3-D printing) can affect the product design process.

Production and Logistics takes this reciprocal effect on the design of future cars into ­account and links the two areas of activity – “Designed for Manufacturing” and “Factories of the Future” – from the division’s TRANSFORM.FACTORY+ strategy.