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,” 8,998 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: The Lighting 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. Individual components and complete vehicles are tested using a wide variety of measuring and testing devices. 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. All tank systems of the Audi model range are developed and tested at this roughly 2,750‑square meter (29,600 sq ft) testing and workshop facility.A new department – Automated Driving Development – will be established in 2017 to pool the competences and resources relevant to this topic of the future.
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 work incessantly to reduce wind noise.
Typically Audi: The number one reason for buying given by Audi customers is the progressive and creative design. A new Design Center is being built at the Technical Development site in Ingolstadt and will be completed in mid-2017. This is where designers, project managers and modeling technicians will work together on the latest production models and show cars. The focus is always on close collaboration with the engineers from the other Technical Development departments. More than 300 designers work in Ingolstadt altogether. The Concept Design Studio in Munich is also a key cornerstone for the development of innovative design and product concepts.
“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 they 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 (13,780 feet). 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.
Smart Factory – the digital 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 Smart Factory – 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 cycle times, low inventories and a large increase in productivity – up to ten percent per year. The primary focus is the continuous improvement process (CIP), because without sustained improvements, the company’s long-term success would be at risk.
- Increasing digitalization is blazing the way for the Smart Factory – the intelligent, digitally 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 process 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 with the visualization, analysis and assessment of 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 approximately 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? These are the questions answered by Audi Toolmaking. The division cooperates closely with designers, development engineers and planners. As a general contractor, Audi Toolmaking supplies both Audi and other brands of the Volkswagen Group with forming tools and body-manufacturing equipment.
- The newly established Metal 3D Printing Center at Toolmaking produces steel and aluminum parts from metal powder using the laser melting process. This process is now being 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 extremely precise 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 shop 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 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 man-robot collaboration (MRC), the employee lays out the body parts and starts application of the adhesive.
- The Energy Productivity at 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.
For a beautiful skin: 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 electrocoating 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 shops.
- Audi inaugurated a new topcoat paint shop at the Ingolstadt site in 2016. The paint shop is one of the most environmentally friendly in the world. This is thanks to the use of the latest technologies such as air recirculation, dry separation 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 design workplaces in the paint shop are also exemplary.
Modular assembly on the rise: In the assembly shop, roughly 8,000 people working in three shifts assemble more than 2,500 Audi models each day, with no two cars alike – each Audi is individual. The vision is to have the world’s most efficient and sustainable premium assembly shop.
- A good example in the assembly shop is the electronic quality inspection (eQP), 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 is also integrated into the assembly process: The robot “Adam” works hand in hand with the employees – without any protective fence and adjusted to their working speed.
- Assembly processes are continually being further developed with the prime objective of minimizing complexity. The start of production of the new Audi Q2 will also involve some innovations. The A3/Q2 assembly line is equipped with a brand new module hopper. Its increased storage capacity is a reflection of the increasing number of different models and variants.
- Audi seeks to master these challenges more flexibly and efficiently with a new concept, modular assembly. Driverless transport systems such as the “Paula” AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) are a core technology of the Smart Factory and revolutionize conventional production processes.
Punctual, flexible and efficient – logistics and the Logistics Center
Logistics has become much more important in the automobile 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, Smart Factory principles 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. Audi is the world’s first automobile manufacturer to combine traditional storage in a parts supermarket with the automated guided vehicles (AGV). With this new way of commissioning 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 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 to the assembly lines. Materials are delivered directly to the assembly lines by electric tractor. The new Hall B with 30,000 square meters (322,917.3 sq ft) of usable floor space was inaugurated in early 2017. In this production and logistics hall, Audi employees fabricate cockpit and rear axle modules in the pre-assembly center, which are then delivered 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 also 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 (301.5 acre) site is home to 17 halls with 486,000 square meters (5,231,260.6 sq ft). The Logistics Center strengthens Ingolstadt as a business location, creates new jobs and reduces environmental pollution by reducing truck traffic.
Striving for perfection – Quality Assurance
Audi vehicles have earned a reputation worldwide for peerless workmanship, premium appearance and excellent reliability. At Audi, quality is anchored throughout the company. Headquartered at the Ingolstadt plant, Quality Assurance coordinates and oversees matters of quality at every Audi plant in the world. It is involved in every product process.
Impressive all down the line: Quality Assurance is already responsible for numerous monitoring and advisory functions during the vehicle development process. It thus specifies product requirements at an early stage during the vehicle concept phase. During the actual development phase, the components are qualified together with the collaboration with the suppliers. Materials Engineering then tests and validates them using cutting-edge analysis methods. All components then receive their finishing touches on the master jig. This reference tool helps ensure that all components interface perfectly with one another – on the car body as well as in the interior. The focus here is on a sense of premium quality by means of precise radii, seams and clear transitions between components, but also the surface appearance and haptics of components.
Worldwide endurance test: Technical Development’s endurance testing is followed by the shakedown run carried out by Quality Assurance. Millions of kilometers are driven under a wide range of customer profiles, climate and road conditions to ensure that each component meets its specifications over the long term. A model must first pass this test before it is approved for series production.
Better safe than sorry: Quality Assurance supports the production process with numerous consulting and monitoring functions. In Final Acceptance on the production line, the cars are intensively inspected and tested prior to delivery. Random checks are also performed as part of the vehicle audit or during road testing. In the case of any deviations, control loops immediately spring into action to ensure that all automobiles that leave the plant fulfill Audi’s requirements. Once a car is with the customer, service technology specialists support retailers with vehicle servicing. The knowledge gained flows back into current series production as well as into the development process for new Audi models.
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. The company communicates openly about environmental protection and involves all employees in such activities to implement its environmental policy goals over the long term. 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 the environmental balance of an automobile’s entire lifecycle is optimized before the first kilometer is driven. AUDI AG has set itself the target of reducing its specific CO2 emissions by 25 percent relative to 2010 by the year 2018.
- There are plans to reduce carbon dioxide 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. Once again with 2010 as the baseline, the Group is striving for a 25-percent improvement in the key environmental metrics for energy, fresh water, waste and volatile organic compounds (VOC) by 2018.
Automobile plant goes green – examples at the Ingolstadt site:
Recycle: Audi inaugurated one of the world’s most environmentally friendly paint shops at the site in 2016. Dry separation of the paint particles, air recirculation and exhaust air treatment result in significant reductions in 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 is building a membrane bio-reactor in Ingolstadt. Three treatment stages turn wastewater into hygienically safe process water. The result is a one-third reduction in the amount of fresh water required in Production.
- Green electricity: Audi has been building cars exclusively with green electricity in Ingolstadt since early 2012. Audi Neuburg and Audi Manufacturing Münchsmünster also buy electricity generated from 100-percent renewable resources.
- Resource-conserving logistics Audi uses “green trains” powered by renewable electricity to transport vehicles from its headquarters in Ingolstadt to the North Sea port of loading in Emden, Germany.
- Emission-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. All in all, at least 120,000 MWh of energy from waste heat is utilized every year.
- Sustainable building: Audi has received the Gold Certificate of the German Association for Sustainable Building for the sustainable construction of the customer building.
- Biodiversity: During the development of the Münschsmünster site, Audi developed a comprehensive biodiversity concept. Selected measures have turned peripheral areas and unused parts of the site into near-natural habitats for numerous species of animals and plants.