Porsche Opens Plant for Producing V8s
Let’s face it: although downsizing and turbocharging are certainly the wave of the present and future when it comes to the mainstream of vehicles, there are still those for whom something else is desired—and therefore required.
“Porsche stands for sporty high-performance engines: from engine design to series production,” says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. So Porsche has invested some 80-million Euro in a new production facility that’s located on its Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen site.
And the 400 employees at the 10,000-m2 factory will be producing approximately 200 V8s per day. The initial application is the Porsche Panamera; the engines will then go into “all Group brands” at some point, with the “group” in question being Volkswagen Group.
In developing the flexible production system for the plant, workers were asked for their ideas. According to Albrecht Reimold, Member of the Executive Board for Production and Logistics at Porsche AG, more than 450 ideas were obtained from the workers.
Assembly stations can be individually adjusted for each worker. They’re having cross-functional work performed to help minimize any monotony. Says Reimold: “The ultimate goal is to have the workers attain mastery of the entire engine.”
The factory features programmable transport vehicles that run on lithium-titanate batteries. The transporters are guided by a grid of 16,000 magnets that are mounted in the floor. Paths can be readily adjusted to accommodate any product or process changes.
Speaking of the floor, it should be noted that the engine plant is two floors, with the bottom level dedicated to logistics and the upper level engine assembly.
Ninety-five carriers transport the engines being assembled in a U-shaped line that’s 432 meters long. The build is composed of 110 work cycles, of which 71 are in the manufacturing portion. An engine is completed in 6.2 hours. The assembly of a new engine begins every 3.5 minutes.
An abundance of information is collected for each build. Says Christian Will, Vice President Aggregate and Components at Porsche AG: “Around 2,300 units of data can be retrieved for each engine after it has been finished and tested. Any fluctuations in quality are detected very early at their onset and are prevented from having an effect.”
Zuffenhausen, incidentally, is where Porsche production began 66 years ago. Back then, according to Uwe Hück, Chairman of the General Works Council and Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Porsche AG, there were 108 employees and annual output was 369 cars.
Today, Hück points out, there are over 1,200 people at the site who are dedicated just to engine manufacturing.