The AUDI AG plant in Ingolstadt covers the entire process of automobile production, from development to the finished automobile. Cornerstones at the site are Technical Development, Production, Logistics, Quality Assurance and Environment.
Vorsprung durch Technik – Technical Development
The Technical Development division of AUDI AG has its headquarters in Ingolstadt. True to the brand claim “Vorsprung durch Technik,” around 9,000 employees work here on innovations for the automobiles of tomorrow. Technical Development’s tasks include everything from the development of new bodies, transmissions, engines, suspensions or vehicle concepts to design and electrical and electronics development.
Enhancing connected collaboration: 450 employees from Development, Model Series and Procurement are working at the SE Forum with the task of shaping the automotive future. SE stands for simultaneous engineering – the integrated and concurrent development of products and processes. This further shortens the development cycles of new models. The tallest building on the site is also home to a state-of-the-art test laboratory and testing equipment as well as an innovative IT center.
Lighting the way: TheLighting Assistance Center is located in the basement of the SE Forum. At 120 meters (393.7 ft), it is the largest drive-in light tunnel in Europe. From xenon plus headlights to Matrix LED headlights and laser lights, Audi has been putting pioneering innovations into series production for 20 years.
Perfect testing:The Acoustics, Performance, Mechanical Engineering, Material Strength and Corrosion departments work at the Physics Center. All models undergo a realistic test program that includes everything from an exterior noise test rig to a road simulator and level-track test rig. Suspension Development inaugurated the new Tank Technical Center in 2015. Development here focuses on the different energy sources of gasoline, diesel and natural gas, hybridizing vehicles and minimizing emissions. The new building offers numerous possibilities: Test routes worldwide are reproduced in the newly created laboratory environment. Work is also done on fuel, natural-gas and SCR systems. The Tank Technical Center also includes the following disciplines: a lab for the “HiL test rigs,” suspension electronics, movement test rigs with environmental simulation, climate, cold and acoustic chambers, various tank-filling pumps and around 500 workplaces.
Electronics? – Check! The Electronics Center is outfitted with a wide range of measuring and testing equipment, such as board layouts of the entire vehicle electronics for testing complex components and a climatic roller dynamometer for simulating different weather and road surface conditions. Audio concepts are developed in an MMI laboratory (Multi Media Interface) and a sound laboratory. This is also the place for all aspects of in-car digitalization and connectivity.
Windproof: The plant in Ingolstadt has its own Wind Tunnel Center with three test units: the aero-acoustic wind tunnel, the thermal wind tunnel and a climatic wind tunnel. Optimal aerodynamics are honed at wind speeds up to 300 kilometers per hour (186.4 mph). The car’s interior climate control and thermal management are developed here, and the engineers are always working on reducing wind noise.
New Design Center: Audi has developed a new, innovative design process, which combines the advantages of state-of-the-art 3D visualization with the strengths of classic modeler’s handcrafted finish – the Ingolstadt site is home to digital design manufacture. Around 600 employees from the areas of Design, Surfaces and Pre-Development work in an area of 37,180 square meters (400,202 sq ft). They focus on networked collaboration with new technologies and integrated spatial design. The building is 107 meters (351.0 ft) long, 71 meters (232.9 ft) wide and around 21 meters (68.9 ft) high. The mirrored double glazing adds a striking characteristic feature.
“Get in” a virtual Audi: In the Design Check department, vehicle models can be viewed realistically and with accurate details before they are ever built. The virtual reality studios make this possible. The various materials appear tangible and life-like, giving the impression of a car the observer can get into.
Weatherproof drive system: In the Engine Center, emissions and fuel consumption measurements are carried out on roller dynamometers under climatic conditions. Driving performance with all-wheel drive is tested in a simulation chamber at altitudes up to 4,200 meters (13,779.5 ft). In the adjacent workshops and modern transmission test rigs, engines are set up and tested before they go into use. Established in 2010, the Development and Test Center for Electrified Drive Systems features cutting-edge test rigs for testing electrified drive concepts.
Smart production from the outset: The Audi Pre-Series Center (VSC) groups the tasks of Technical Development and Production together in a single area of responsibility. This ensures the economic production of the automobiles from the early development phase.
A tradition of testing quality: For over 20 years, Technical Development has been testing new developments in various driving situations at its own proving grounds in Neustadt an der Donau. High-speed tests are conducted on the 4.7-kilometer (2.9 mi), three-lane oval track with two banked corners, and performance, fuel consumption, noise, temperature and braking are also measured.
Digitalized production of the future
At Audi, premium quality in automobiles means maximum body quality through efficient production systems and new high-tech solutions. The vision is the intelligent, digitally connected factory.
AUDI AG has one of the most flexible and efficient production systems in the automotive industry: The Audi Production System (APS) is based on the fundamental principles of cycle, flow, pull and perfection. Audi systematically implements these principles in Production and throughout the company, resulting in short throughput times, low inventories and a large increase in productivity. The focus is on the “continuous improvement process” (CIP).
Increasing digitalization is blazing the way for the intelligent, fully connected factory. New high-tech solutions in Production enhance the very high quality level even further, while facilitating work on the assembly lines and ensuring better ergonomics.
Perfectly planned from A to Z: Production and Plant Planning is responsible for the planning of all vehicle projects of the Audi brand, designing the product, the manufacturing processes and the production locations worldwide.
In close cooperation with Technical Development, Production and Plant Planning make automobile production possible. The focus is on the customers and their requirements. Photo-realistic models help visualize, analyze and assess customer-relevant vehicle surfaces.
The Pre-Series Center and Toolmaking are involved in all aspects of new-vehicle development during the prototype phase.
Production and Plant Planning and its around 1,600 employees establish all the conditions for manufacturing the Audi models in maximum quality.
Leading the way in metal 3D printing: Audi stands for the high quality of car bodies – by means of small radii, homogeneous surfaces and exact dimensions. What is physically possible, and what can be reliably manufactured? Planners and toolmakers are doing research into 3D printing, working together closely with designers and developers. As a general contractor, Audi Toolmaking supplies both Audi and other brands of the Volkswagen Group with forming tools and body-manufacturing equipment.
In the Metal 3D Printing Center at Toolmaking, Audi experts produce steel and aluminum parts from metal powder using the laser melting process. This process is used in series production tools. Components for limited production vehicles could also be produced using this method in the years ahead.
Audi’s Toolmaking division currently employs more than 2,300 people at five locations in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Barcelona (Spain), Győr (Hungary) and Beijing (China); approximately 1,100 of them work in Ingolstadt.
To meet the growing challenges with respect to quality, design aspirations and economic feasibility, toolmaking and press shop collaborate very closely and are organized together as the Competence Center Equipment and Metal Forming Technology.
From sheet to complex geometries: In the Ingolstadt press shops, steel and aluminum sheets are formed into ultraprecise body parts – highly efficiently and with a recycling ratio of one hundred percent.
The modern large-capacity presses lead the field internationally in productivity.
The forming tools and tremendous press forces convert steel or aluminum rolls, called “coils,” into the complex geometries of the individual parts in as many as six process steps. Particular attention is paid to surface quality.
Approximately 1,300 people work in the press shops in Ingolstadt. Each day, they process roughly 1,675 tons of sheet metal, including 88 tons of aluminum, into 569,000 individual body parts.
Like magic: The Ingolstadt body shops for the Audi Q2, Audi A3, Audi A4 and Audi A5 model series are cutting-edge production facilities featuring innovative manufacturing technologies and maximum flexibility. Reflecting the focus on efficiency and sustainability during their planning, they feature an automatic matrix lighting control system, photovoltaic systems for renewable power generation on the roof and energy consumption analyses.
Direct collaboration between humans and machines is already reality here: A robot helps with the application of bonded seams in the body shop.
In this human-robot collaboration (HRC), the employee lays out the body parts and starts application of the adhesive.
The “Energy Productivity in Production” employee-training program, intelligent shutoff strategies and energy-efficient system components help to conserve energy.
3,450 employees and over 3,200 robots build bodies with maximum precision in the Ingolstadt body shop.
The perfect finish: At the Ingolstadt site’s paint shop, it takes several coordinated stages of manufacturing to make a vehicle body shine in one of 30 standard colors. Quality is always top priority, from cathodic dip coating through basecoats to clearcoats.
Every day, the roughly 2,500 paint shop employees make sure that innovative Audi designs of the Audi Q2, Audi A3, Audi A4, and Audi A5 models gleam in all the right colors.
The employees’ painting experience and intuition as well as a keen eye for detail are essential. Highly skilled young workers are trained on the spot in the paint shop.
Audi inaugurated its eco-friendly topcoat paint shop at its Ingolstadt plant in 2016. This is thanks to the use of cutting-edge technologies such as air recirculation, dry scrubbing and cleaning of exhaust air.
Modern application systems conserve resources:
- Air recirculation conserves energy and reduces organic solvents.
- Paint separation with stone dust rather than water conserves water.
The ergonomically designed workplaces in the paint shop are also exemplary.
Innovative production technologies: In the assembly shop, roughly 8,000 people working in three shifts assemble more than 2,400 Audi models each day, with no two cars alike – each Audi is individual. The vision is to have the world’s most efficient and most sustainable premium assembly.
One example in assembly is the “electronic quality tests,” which serves to ensure that the high quality requirements are fulfilled.
The electronic vehicle job card (eWBK) is also in successful operation. It displays on monitors exactly which component the employee needs for each car.
Human-robot collaboration (HRC) is also integrated into the assembly, a new robot colleague on the Audi A4/A5 assembly line: Employees and robots now work side by side with no protective fence. The “Adhesive application with robot assistance”, abbreviated from the German as KLARA, provides support with the installation of large CFRP roofs. Audi is using an HRC light robot for the first time in its main plant to apply adhesive in final assembly. Similar robots are already integrated into production in body shops in Ingolstadt and Brussels as well as in engine assembly in Győr.
Assembly processes are continually being further developed with the prime objective of minimizing complexity. The start of production of the Audi Q2 also involved some innovations. The A3/Q2 assembly line is equipped with a new module hopper. Its increased storage capacity is a reflection of the increasing number of different models and variants.
Automated guided vehicles such as the “Paula” AGV are a core technology of the smart digital factory and revolutionize conventional production processes.
Punctual, flexible and efficient – logistics and the Logistics Center
Logistics has become much more important in the automotive industry. The growing variety of models is increasing process complexity along the entire value chain. Logistics at Audi ensures that vehicle production and market supply are punctual and flexible, with minimal throughput times and the smallest possible inventories. Because the variety of models in the plants requires mastering complexity, the principles of the fully connected digital factory are already anchored in the logistics.
Like at the airport: Audi Logistics at the Ingolstadt site introduced Truck Quick Check In. This system directs the trucks delivering vendor parts and admits them to the plant according to priority. The truck control point functions like an airport control tower. The self-controlled delivery process is based on innovative geofencing technology.
Smart logistics: Another new development is automated transport of parts and vehicles. Since hall B came on stream in the GVZ Logistics Center in January 2017,
Audi is using driverless floor conveyors to transport materials automatically as part of volume production for the first time. Moreover, Audi is one of the world’s first automobile manufacturers to combine traditional storage in a parts supermarket with automated guided vehicles (AGV). With this new way of order picking according to the goods-to-person principle, the parts are automatically retrieved and transported to a fixed picking station. Loading of vehicles has also been automated: “Ray” is a parking robot that picks up the new cars at a transfer station, sorts them by destination and marshals them for loading onto railcars.
Just in sequence delivery to the GVZ Logistics Center: Modern logistics is characterized by short information and transport paths as well as by environmental awareness. The location of the Logistics Center directly at the gate of the Audi site in Ingolstadt is the result of traffic studies and serves to attract important logistics functions and JIS systems suppliers. The advantages of the Logistics Center for Audi are supply reliability, the ability to master complexity and the reduction of logistics costs.
Clever material delivery: Module suppliers fabricate their products just in sequence in assembly centers and are responsible for delivering them directly to the assembly lines. Materials are delivered directly to the assembly lines by electric tractors and trailers. Hall B, which covers 30,000 square meters (322,917 sq ft), also houses a preassembly center. Here, Audi employees manufacture cockpit and rear-axle modules, supplying them just in sequence to the production lines.
In addition, 13 external suppliers and service providers currently supply Audi via the Logistics Center. The Logistics Center includes a Consolidation Center housing the CKD (completely knocked down) packaging plant. With short paths between Logistics and Production, conditions are ideal.
History and facts: The Logistics Center, which opened in 1995, has two investors and owners: IFG Ingolstadt, a company fully owned by the city of Ingolstadt, and LGI GmbH, a joint subsidiary of IFG Ingolstadt and AUDI AG. The 122-hectare site is home to 17 halls with 506,000 square meters (5,446,539 sq ft). The Logistics Center strengthens Ingolstadt as a business location, creates new jobs and reduces environmental pollution by reducing truck traffic.
Premium quality for the digital age – Quality Assurance
Taking quality to new heights: Quality is traditionally a core competence of the brand with the four rings. Audi customers and users have high expectations of their car’s functionality, comfort and reliability. Robust vehicle functions, precise suspensions and perfect gap dimensions are the hallmark of the high-quality overall impression of every Audi model – as are the superb standards of materials, workmanship and feel. Audi Quality Assurance in all plants worldwide ensure this is the case with process-oriented quality management. It accompanies the brand’s products from development, production, through to technical service and ongoing success in the markets.
The changing driver experience: In the digital age, Quality Assurance is taking on extra new tasks. The aim is to validate the quality of alternative drives and to ensure automobile connectivity and connectivity with the environment. Automated driving, whose reliability is decisive to customers trusting the new technology, also take center stage. With increasingly digital methods and processes as well as individual service offerings, Quality Assurance contributes specifically to the sustainable, connected and automated premium driver experience of the future.
Economics and ecology in harmony – environmental protection at Audi
Audi is committed to the sustainable use of raw materials and resources for the conservation of the environment. Audi openly communicates about its environmental protection work and involves all employees in such activities. The company can thus sustainably implement its environmental policy goals. As a party to the fifth Bavarian Environmental Pact, AUDI AG is making an important contribution to environmental protection.
On the road to sustainable mobility: Here it is essential that an automobile’s entire lifecycle assessment is optimized before the first kilometer is driven. AUDI AG aims to reduce its specific CO2 emissions by 25 percent relative to 2010 by the end of 2018.
There are plans to reduce CO2 emissions associated with the supply of energy at the German sites by 40 percent per reference unit by 2020. Audi is also pursuing its vision of manufacturing all vehicles made in Ingolstadt completely CO2-neutral and with zero wastewater.
Environmental protection also entails conserving resources. Using 2010 as the baseline, the Group is striving for a 25 percent improvement per reference unit in the key environmental metrics for energy, fresh water, waste and volatile organic compounds (VOC) by the end of 2018.
For the period after 2018, a new target of 35% is envisaged for 2025. Using 2010 as the baseline, the aim is to further reduce the five aforementioned key metrics, attaching greater weight to global factors such as energy and CO2 emissions.
Automobile plant goes green – examples at the Ingolstadt site:
Recycle: Audi inaugurated its eco-friendly paint shop at the Ingolstadt plant in 2016. Dry separation of the paint particles, air recirculation and exhaust air treatment significantly reduce thermal energy and water consumption as well as CO2 emissions compared with conventional systems. Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) are reduced by over 90 percent.
Water recycling: To save water, Audi has set up a membrane bioreactor in Ingolstadt. Three treatment stages turn wastewater back into hygienically safe process water. In future, up to one third of all fresh water required in Production can be saved.
Green electricity: Audi started producing automobiles in Ingolstadt using just green electricity in early 2012. Audi Neuburg and Audi manufacturing in Münchsmünster are also supplied with electricity generated from entirely renewable resources.
Audi Logistics is a climate protection pioneer: All rail consignments to the Audi Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm plants have been CO2-free since mid-2017. Audi is the first company in Germany to handle its logistic shipments by rail entirely carbon-neutral.
Emissions-free locomotives: Two modern plug-in-hybrid locomotives are used at Ingolstadt for shunting work.
Photovoltaics: Audi has installed different photovoltaic modules at its headquarters in Ingolstadt to test innovative technologies. All together, the systems at the Ingolstadt site generate roughly 1,800 MWh per year.
Use waste heat: Since 2004, the Ingolstadt site has been supplied via district heating with waste heat generated at the municipal waste incineration plant and since 2012 from an adjacent refinery. In 2017, around 70,000 MWh of energy was used from waste heat.
Sustainable building: Audi received the Platinum Certificate of the German Association for Sustainable Building for the sustainable construction of the customer building.
Biodiversity: For its Münchsmünster site, Audi developed a comprehensive biodiversity concept. Peripheral areas and unused parts have been turned into near-natural habitats for numerous species of animals and plants.