Porsche's newest manufacturing plant in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen is a state-of-the-art production facility where 400 employees will produce around 200 V-8 engines on a daily basis.
“Porsche stands for sporty high-performance engines: from engine design to series production,” says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. “We are further extending our competence in this area with the new engines. This is how we will assure our customers the driving pleasure of tomorrow and safeguard the future jobs of our employees. At the same time, we are creating the necessary foundation for successfully leading Porsche into the new age of electric mobility.”
In addition to producing V-8 engines for Porsche, the new plant will also be responsible for all Group-VW V-8 engines.
Uwe Hück, Chairman of the General Works Council and Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Porsche AG: “Zuffenhausen is where the Porsche legend was born, and it lives on. The first production cars were built here 66 years ago: the 356 model, the original Porsche. There were 108 employees, and 369 vehicles were manufactured annually. Today, over 1,200 people are employeed in engine manufacturing alone. And if we are to speak of Porsche having a soul, then it is in the engine. Today, it is getting a new home. But Porsche is not only investing in new technologies and buildings. Porsche is investing in people. We are creating state-of-the-art working conditions for our employees. That is because our intergalactic Porsche people are a key factor in our success. The new engine manufacturing facility also shows our commitment to Zuffenhausen, Stuttgart and Baden-Württemberg, to the future of sports car manufacturing and above all to our unique workforce. Porsche doesn’t just talk. Porsche sets the standard.”
Flexible interlinkage of manufacturing and automation
The core aspect of the new engine plant is its flexible production system, in which manufacturing and automation are interlinked harmoniously and efficiently. Assembly of the innovative eight-cylinder V-engines, which will at first only be used in the new Panamera, requires extremely precise processes. That is why production responsibility rests mainly on the shoulders of the highly qualified and very well-trained employees. Those employees are assisted by state-of-the-art machines and tools.
In addition, around 100 innovations were incorporated into the production system concept. For instance, Porsche implemented industrial transport vehicles that are user-programmable. The electric transporters, which are powered by lithium-titanate batteries, navigate over a grid network of 16,000 magnets that are mounted in the floors of the two plant levels. Their flexibility makes it possible to readily adapt production processes to potential product changes and new methods later on.
The EC tools are just as adaptable. Their presets for torque or speed, for instance, can be modified at any time via the electronic production network. This means that they are not limited to a specific place of use, but can essentially be used universally in assembly and only need to be mounted at the new work location – in production jargon they are “re-cycled” – and are then programmed for their new task. Moreover, ergonomically optimised tools make tasks easier for workers to perform due to their improved ease-of-use.
Production of the new Panamera Engine by the Numbers
- The assembly of a new engine begins every 3.5 minutes.
- 95 workpiece carriers transport the engines along the line designed in a U-shape that is a total of 432 metres long.
- It takes 6.2 hours to produce an engine over the course of 110 work cycles, of which 71 are in the manufacturing areas.
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.
The Factory Itself
The new engine plant, whose construction was started in early 2014, is located in the western expansion zone of the main Porsche production site.
- The building floor area comprises around 10,000 square meter.
- The factory is subdivided into two levels, with logistics on the ground floor and engine assembly on the upper floor.
- The building was built in the northeastern zone of a 25,000 square meter land parcel that Porsche acquired as an expansion parcel.
- The three-story entrance area with offices and social spaces is along the front side, so that space will be available on the other side of the building for constructing expansion structures.
- Within the building, the architectural design reserves space for the installation of another work level on the first upper level.