Volkswagen Golf 8 Productivity Improvements
The world reveal of the Golf 8 will occur on October 24. But in Wolfsburg they’ve already been busy.
The Volkswagen Golf is about to be launched in its eighth generation, 45 years after the first one rolled off the line in Wolfsburg.
They’ve made a lot of Golfs at Wolfsburg in the subsequent years: 26 million. (And if you add in the production at other sites, the total number of Golfs produced is more than 35 million.)
Good or what?
Presumably if you make that many cars you get more than pretty good at it. But at Wolfsburg they wanted to get better than good.
Workshopping the processes
Some 700 work operations were studied in 400 workshops so that a determination could be made regarding how to improve the operations to achieve increased efficiency.
For the Gen 8 Golf there are 962 wiring systems that include 1,340 meters of cable (or 4,396 feet). According to VW, that represents 31 more wiring systems and nearly 100 meters more cable than in the Golf 7.
Sketch of the VW Golf 8
Here’s another big number: 69 kilometers (~43 miles). That is the distance, from sheet steel to finished product, that a vehicle-in-becoming travels through the plant.
(Speaking of traveling: next year they’re going to be installing 23 transport robots in the facility which they calculate will provide a 7% productivity increase.)
7 Helps 8
The Golf 8, like the Golf 7, is based on the Volkswagen MQB (Modular Transverse Toolkit) platform. That meant that approximately 80% of the body shop is being used for the Golf 8. (Which is not to say that there isn’t new equipment; there is. And some of it in the body shop is figured to be 40% more productive than that which it replaces.)
View from the top
“The Golf 8 is much more complex than its predecessor. Nevertheless, we have cut average manufacturing time by about one hour. Because the Golf 8 belongs to the second-generation of MQB products, we achieved a significant reduction in production investments. Our platform strategy is delivering. The team in Wolfsburg have given their all for the Golf 8. Production processes have become more efficient overall. That is a great achievement and I would like to say a big thank you to all employees.”
That’s Dr. Andreas Tostmann, Volkswagen Brand Board Member for Production.
OK, this is admittedly absurd, but think about this: the Wolfsburg plant has built 26-million Golfs. Were they to have saved one hour per, that would be a time save of 2,966 years.
Admittedly, that calculation is somewhat exaggerated. Still, last year at Wolfsburg approximately 320,000 Golf family vehicles (there are several variants of the car) were manufactured. Given that number and the one hour production time reduction, that itself is 36.5 years. Incredible how some good production engineering can make a major difference.
Many countries who once were major players from a vehicle production/export perspective are finding it difficult to even find their niche today.
By James Gaffney, Product Engineer, Precision Grinding and Patrick D. Redington, Manager, Precision Grinding Business Unit, Norton Company (Worcester, MA)
Topology optimization cuts part development time and costs, material consumption, and product weight. And it works with additive, subtractive, and all other types of manufacturing processes, too.