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 10,000 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. It is a 120-meter-long drive-in light tunnel. 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.
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 stands,” suspension electronics, movement test stands with environmental simulation, climate, cold and acoustic chambers, various tank-filling pumps and approximately 500 workplaces on the office floors.
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 interior climate control and thermal management of the cars 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 model-making craftsmanship – a digital design workshop is located at the Ingolstadt site. 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 beds, future units are set up and tested. 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.
Strategic partnership: Through the Audi Electronics Venture GmbH (AEV), Audi currently holds stakes in nine technology companies, with the aim of generating innovations in strategically important fields of technology and jointly bringing them to market maturity in the automotive industry. A fully-owned subsidiary located in Gaimersheim near Ingolstadt, AEV has been generating momentum and playing an active role in shaping the mobility of the future with us since 2001. Examples of AEV technologies that have been successfully adopted in series production include the Audi virtual cockpit and the Audi connect service traffic light information online. Most recently the AEV has developed the Audi Experience Ride and co-founded the start-up holoride GmbH.
Digitalized production of the future
Efficient production systems and the use of new high-tech solution underpin the vision of digitalized production of the future. Audi is synonymous with the highest quality standards, including in times of change as it transforms into a mobility provider. With a clear target vision in sight the company gears the production and logistics processes strategically to future requirements. People are always center stage: Context-sensitive assist systems support people efficiently, including with new forms of human‑machine interaction. These save resources, enhance process reliability and ergonomics in the workplace. Audi production is gearing up gradually for electric mobility. Flexibilization measures lay the foundation for future models; electric mobility and key technologies will be implemented even faster in future as a result.
Planned from A to Z: Production and Plant Planning is responsible for the planning of all vehicle projects of the Audi brand, including the design of 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 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.
Precision with passion:Audi stands for the superb quality of car bodies – by means of small radii, homogeneous surfaces and exact dimensions. The Equipment and Metal Forming Technology competence center, the amalgam of Audi toolmaking and press shops in the individual Audi sites, supplies as general contractor both Audi and other Volkswagen Group brands with forming tools and body-manufacturing equipment. It currently employs over 4,500 employees at the sites in Ingolstadt (1,100 including Münchsmünster), Neckarsulm, Barcelona (Spain), Győr (Hungary), San José Chiapa (Mexico) and Beijing (China).
From sheets to complex geometries:At the press shops, an area of the Equipment and Metal Forming Technology competence center, steel and aluminum sheets are formed into extremely precise body parts.
- The forming tools and tremendous press forces convert steel or aluminum rolls, called “coils,” into the complex geometries of the individual parts in up to six process steps. Particular attention is paid to surface quality.
- Sheeting that is cut away in the metal forming process and is not required for the production process is recycled.
- In 2018, Audi started testing software developed in-house based on artificial intelligence for quality checks in the Ingolstadt press shop. Audi will use machine learning in future in series production.
- Approximately 1,300 employees work in the press shop in Ingolstadt. Each day, they process roughly 1,310 metric tons of sheet metal, including 58 metric tons of aluminum, into 492,000 individual body parts.
Leading the way in metal 3D printing:Planners and toolmakers are doing research into 3D printing, working together closely with designers and developers. At the metal 3D printing center, which is located in the Equipment and Metal Forming Technology competence center in Ingolstadt, Audi experts use laser melting processes to produce steel and aluminum parts from metal powder. This process is used in production tools. This method could be used to manufacture components for limited production vehicles in the future.
Like magic:The body shops are advanced manufacturing facilities characterized by innovative production 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: Robots assist employees in the body shop.
- 3,200 employees and around 4,700 robots build car bodies with maximum precision at the Ingolstadt body shop.
The perfect finish:At the Ingolstadt site’s paint shop, it takes several coordinated stages of manufacture to paint in 25 different standard colors at present. Customers’ individual color requirements can also be met. Quality is always top priority, from cathodic dip coating to base coats and clear coats.
- 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-job in the paint shop.
- Audi inaugurated its eco-friendly topcoat paint shop with air recirculation, dry separation, exhaust air treatment and ergonomic workstations at its Ingolstadt plant in 2016.
- Modern application systems conserve resources:
- Air recirculation conserves energy and reduces organic solvents.
- Paint separation with stone dust rather than water conserves water.
- The paint shop is being modernized with state-of-the-art technology (bell‑bell application, new thermal afterburning, LED lighting)
Innovative production technologies:In the assembly shop in Ingolstadt, roughly 7,200 people working in three shifts assemble Audi models, with no two cars alike – each Audi is individual.
- At the assembly shop, the “electronic quality check” (eQP) serves to ensure that the high-quality requirements are fulfilled.
- The “electronic vehicle job card” (eWBK) has also been in successful operation for several years. It displays on monitors exactly which component the employee needs for each car.
- Human-robot collaboration is integrated into the assembly process: A robot “colleague” works side‑by-side with the employees without any safety fencing. “Robot-assisted adhesive application,” abbreviated from the German as KLARA, supports the installation of large CFRP roofs.
- Due to the growing variety of models and variants, a new memory module that provides greater storage capacity has been installed on the A3/Q2 assembly line.
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. To master the complexity created by the variety of models at the plants, Smart Factory principles are already firmly integrated into the logistics processes.
Like at the airport: Audi Logistics at the Ingolstadt site introduced Truck Quick Check-In. This system directs the trucks delivering purchased 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 key area of developments in logistics are automated transport of parts and vehicles. Since commissioning of Hall B at the Logistics Center at Ingolstadt in January 2017, Audi has been using driverless floor conveyors for automated materials handling in production operation for the first time. The use of these in-plant materials handling systems has been expanded continuously ever since. Audi also combines classic warehousing 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 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 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.
Hall B with 30,000 square meters (322,917 sq ft) of usable floor space was inaugurated in early 2017. At this production and logistics workshop, Audi employees produce cockpit and rear axle modules at the pre-assembly center, which are then delivered to the production lines just-in-sequence.
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, the logistics areas close to the production line 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 492,000 square meters (5,295,843.9 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
Core competence quality: Audi customers and users have high expectations when it comes to the quality, comfort and reliability of their car. Robust vehicle functions, precise suspensions and consummate materials, workmanship and feel are the hallmark of the high-quality overall impression of every Audi model. This is the task of Audi Quality Assurance at all plants worldwide. It follows the multi-award-winning products using process-oriented quality management – from development through production up to technical service and ongoing success in the markets.
From Driving Experience to Experience Drive: 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. Another focal issue is automated driving, the reliability of which is crucial to customer confidence in the new technology. 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 these activities. This allows the company to sustainably implement its environmental policy objectives. 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: AUDI AG aims to ensure that the environmental balance of a car during its entire life cycle is optimized before the first kilometer is driven. Audi is therefore working continuously on reducing the environmental footprint of car production. The Audi Group has set itself challenging targets for conserving resources: Through 2025 the environmental impact of the Audi production sites should be reduced by 35 percent per produced vehicle compared with the reference year 2010 – in relation to the key environmental metrics for energy, CO2 emissions, fresh water, waste and volatile organic compounds (VOC). Greater weight is attached to global factors such as energy and CO2emissions. There are plans to reduce CO2 emissions associated with the supply of energy at the German sites by 40 percent per vehicle manufactured by 2020. Audi is pursuing a vision of manufacturing automobiles completely CO2-neutral and wastewater-free over the long term.
A car factory goes green – examples at the Ingolstadt site:
- Recycle: Audi has been operating a highly environmentally compatible paint shop at the Ingolstadt site since 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 to conventional systems. Emissions of VOCs are reduced by over 90 percent.
- Water recycling: To save water, Audi has built a membrane bioreactor in Ingolstadt. Three treatment stages turn wastewater back into hygienically safe industrial water. In future, this will allow up to a third of fresh water to be saved in production.
- Energy management: At Audi’s Ingolstadt site some 120 energy efficiency measures saved just under 34,300 megawatt hours of energy and CO2 emissions of over 5,350 metric tons in 2018.
- Green electricity: Audi started producing cars in Ingolstadt using only 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 handles 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: At the Ingolstadt headquarters, Audi has installed photovoltaic modules over an area of around 23,000 square meters (247,570 sq ft). All together, the systems generate roughly 1,800 MWh per year.
- Use waste heat: The Ingolstadt and Neuburg sites are supplied with waste heat with minimal CO₂ from the nearby industry, including from the neighboring refinery and the municipal waste incineration plant. Through the heat recycling system, Audi used around 85,000 megawatt hours of energy from waste heat in 2018 and saved around 15,500 metric tons of CO₂.
- Sustainable building: Audi received the Platinum Certificate of the German Association for Sustainable Building for the sustainable construction of the customer building at the Audi Neuburg site.
- Biodiversity: In 2015, Audi joined the nationwide initiative in Germany “Biodiversity in Good Company” as part of its commitment to protecting biological diversity. The largest biodiversity project is at present the open spaces at the Münchsmünster site. Here targeted measures have created habitats for numerous species of animals and plants. There is also a biodiversity concept for Audi Neuburg.
- Sustainable land recycling: IN-Campus GmbH, a joint venture between AUDI AG and the city of Ingolstadt, is remediating a 75-hectare industrial wasteland in the east of Ingolstadt, thus creating the conditions for a new, state-of-the-art commercial and industrial park through the end of 2022. This is one of the largest projects of its kind at present in Germany and the first complete remediation of a refinery site ever to take place in Bavaria.