The new Audi R8 is manufactured under the auspices of quattro GmbH, a 100‑percent subsidiary of AUDI AG at its “Audi Böllinger Höfe” production facilities in Heilbronn. The AUDI AG investment in its facility in the immediate vicinity of its tradition-rich Neckarsulm production site amounts to a figure in the double-digit millions.
As many as 500 highly qualified employees work in the body manufacturing and assembly areas at the production site which has 30,000 m2 (322,917 sq ft) of production floor area. Just as for the previous model, production is organized as a flexible handcrafting process. quattro GmbH is further extending its production competence in limited production runs here. In body manufacturing, the initial focus is on the aluminum parts of the ASF. In a first step, specialists weld together the front body module, middle floor and rear body module – which are made of cast aluminum and extruded aluminum profiles – and they then join the three modules to the underbody. Robots perform joining processes that involve cold joints such as rivets and screws, while workers execute welding tasks. The body continues to grow with the addition of the greenhouse (the area of the glass surfaces) and the roof. Humans and robots work closely together in installing the CFRP parts.
High-tech transport: self-propelled assembly skids
The finished body is transferred to the assembly area on a self-propelled assembly skid, which is known as a driverless transport system (DTS). The DTS, an innovation at Audi, utilizes high-power storage capacitors as its energy storage medium, and it navigates through the production floor areas via laser scanner and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips. In the assembly area, which is laid out as a U-shaped chain, employees perform a large share of the handcraft work in 15 cycles each lasting around 30 minutes.
Flexibility enjoys an extremely high priority at “Audi Böllinger Höfe” – in body manufacturing employees also produce derivatives such as the R8 LMS race car in parallel to the production cars. The assembly area is also configured for quick modifications. The cars move through many areas of the hall on the DTS. There are no overhead conveyors or a classic “marriage” station. The drive unit and suspensions are preassembled and installed separately from one another.
The latest ergonomic standards apply to assembly of the new Audi R8. The DTS skids can be variably adjusted up to 1.2 meters (3.9 ft) in height. The brake and coolant lines are laid out in the underbody on a lifting/pivoting platform that rotates the car 90 degrees
Initial operation of the newly produced R8 is performed at the testing center and comprises six separate cycles. Afterwards, each new R8 must successfully complete a stringent quality approval process on the plant’s own test track. After this, an approximately one-hour test drive is conducted on public roads which also includes freeway driving. Only then is the new sports car released for delivery to the customer.
The equipment and data specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.