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Bob Nist

USA

Posted - 06/21/2020 :  17:25:41  Show Profile
https://www.youtube.com/embed/nd5WGLWNllA?rel=0

Skylark

USA

Posted - 06/21/2020 :  20:39:18  Show Profile
Good video. Glad you posted it Bob. I'm sure VW is proud of their facility.

Very little really unique here on the assembly line, though;
almost all auto factories now use robotics, and bring materials to the line by wire. Fewer workers are used in assembly, no fluids leaking on the floor anywhere, environmentally friendly paint booths, almost total elimination of waste anywhere that needs to go back out of the plant to landfills, etc. I think many people still think the Big 3 utilize obsolete methods to build cheaper, and everyone else is more advanced. Not true.

Some of the work stations shown in the video, like the one where the worker rotates the vehicle to get to the part being installed, would slow the output of a high volume assembly plant. That may look neat at first, but there are hidden problems with things like that. I can think of a couple other solutions that would not slow the line as much. However, in low volumes, the lost time isn't as critical in the VW situation.

We have found that robotics and computer controlled systems now inhibit changes to models, in part that's why you don't see as much annual new model changes like we used to do. Reprogramming all the computers takes a lot of time, and testing, before production can move up to full capacity. (Ask Tesla... they made mistakes with too much automation on their launches... and the more of it you use, the longer it takes to make new or different models and get up to planned volume.)

Sharing the passenger commuter rails to bring material through the city to the VW factory is unique, although the product being built in this factory is very expensive and very low volume. They aren't tying up the rail line. It would not work in high volumes and in plants building multiple models, at least not on a shared rail like that. Actually, I wonder about the decision-making behind VW and this factory..... because they are now boxed into a plant that is located where it will be difficult and expensive to do a different vehicle, in high volume.

Our factory tools are regularly calibrated to do the things like torque settings, in that section where in this video VW makes the point of showing a computer screen "proving" the screws are tight. I don't really think that method is any better than our robots and manual tools that are set to tight tolerances. But it looks good to people who don't know.

I have had personal experience a few years ago driving a Porsche 911. It had very few miles on it, but it was absolutely the worst vehicle I've ever driven for squeaks and rattles... so I don't buy into the myth that Germany has any advantage engineering-wise to the rest of the world. Computers telling them screws are tight doesn't mean that much to me.

A few of our factories at Ford also have customer tours where you might be able to see your vehicle built, such as the F-Series plant in Dearborn. If anyone is interested, the tours depart from the Henry Ford Museum (although right now they may be suspended because of corona restrictions).

Highland Park, the old Model T factory, utilized a lot of glass for lighting on the assembly line, because Henry didn't really want to pay for much electric lighting lol. However, the basic structure of the building was brick and mortar.

I see the risks when I look at things like this VW facility. We (Ford) built a few "glass houses of the future" for office facilities in the mid/late 50's. The only one still standing is World Headquarters. The structures don't last as long as traditional brick and mortar.

VW may find that this all-glass plant is too high cost to maintain, like we did.

Edited by - Skylark on 06/21/2020 20:42:38
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Skylark

USA

Posted - 06/21/2020 :  20:39:18  Show Profile
Good video. Glad you posted it Bob. I'm sure VW is proud of their facility.

Very little really unique here on the assembly line, though;
almost all auto factories now use robotics, and bring materials to the line by wire. Fewer workers are used in assembly, no fluids leaking on the floor anywhere, environmentally friendly paint booths, almost total elimination of waste anywhere that needs to go back out of the plant to landfills, etc. I think many people still think the Big 3 utilize obsolete methods to build cheaper, and everyone else is more advanced. Not true.

Some of the work stations shown in the video, like the one where the worker rotates the vehicle to get to the part being installed, would slow the output of a high volume assembly plant. That may look neat at first, but there are hidden problems with things like that. I can think of a couple other solutions that would not slow the line as much. However, in low volumes, the lost time isn't as critical in the VW situation.

We have found that robotics and computer controlled systems now inhibit changes to models, in part that's why you don't see as much annual new model changes like we used to do. Reprogramming all the computers takes a lot of time, and testing, before production can move up to full capacity. (Ask Tesla... they made mistakes with too much automation on their launches... and the more of it you use, the longer it takes to make new or different models and get up to planned volume.)

Sharing the passenger commuter rails to bring material through the city to the VW factory is unique, although the product being built in this factory is very expensive and very low volume. They aren't tying up the rail line. It would not work in high volumes and in plants building multiple models, at least not on a shared rail like that. Actually, I wonder about the decision-making behind VW and this factory..... because they are now boxed into a plant that is located where it will be difficult and expensive to do a different vehicle, in high volume.

Our factory tools are regularly calibrated to do the things like torque settings, in that section where in this video VW makes the point of showing a computer screen "proving" the screws are tight. I don't really think that method is any better than our robots and manual tools that are set to tight tolerances. But it looks good to people who don't know.

I have had personal experience a few years ago driving a Porsche 911. It had very few miles on it, but it was absolutely the worst vehicle I've ever driven for squeaks and rattles... so I don't buy into the myth that Germany has any advantage engineering-wise to the rest of the world. Computers telling them screws are tight doesn't mean that much to me.

A few of our factories at Ford also have customer tours where you might be able to see your vehicle built, such as the F-Series plant in Dearborn. If anyone is interested, the tours depart from the Henry Ford Museum (although right now they may be suspended because of corona restrictions).

Highland Park, the old Model T factory, utilized a lot of glass for lighting on the assembly line, because Henry didn't really want to pay for much electric lighting lol. However, the basic structure of the building was brick and mortar.

I see the risks when I look at things like this VW facility. We (Ford) built a few "glass houses of the future" for office facilities in the mid/late 50's. The only one still standing is World Headquarters. The structures don't last as long as traditional brick and mortar.

VW may find that this all-glass plant is too high cost to maintain, like we did.

Edited by - Skylark on 06/21/2020 20:42:38
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kosh2258

USA

Posted - 06/23/2020 :  13:06:19  Show Profile
VW designed that facility for the Phaeton.

It's was to be VW's answer to the MB S-Class and BMW 7 and 8 series. The Phaeton, of course, never caught on. The public wasn't ready to accept a luxury priced Volkswagen.

The facility was designed to be a showcase commensurate with the prestige the Phaeton was intended to convey. It was built to provide a WOW factor for marketing and publicity, not for any rational manufacturing efficiency or significant volume of production.

The Phaeton went out of production in 2016.

Last I read anything about it, the facility is being used to build the e-Golf electric vehicle now.
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kosh2258

USA

Posted - 06/23/2020 :  13:06:19  Show Profile
VW designed that facility for the Phaeton.

It's was to be VW's answer to the MB S-Class and BMW 7 and 8 series. The Phaeton, of course, never caught on. The public wasn't ready to accept a luxury priced Volkswagen.

The facility was designed to be a showcase commensurate with the prestige the Phaeton was intended to convey. It was built to provide a WOW factor for marketing and publicity, not for any rational manufacturing efficiency or significant volume of production.

The Phaeton went out of production in 2016.

Last I read anything about it, the facility is being used to build the e-Golf electric vehicle now.
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Skylark

USA

Posted - 06/23/2020 :  16:53:37  Show Profile
well I guess that would qualify as low production vehicle, too, then
but wow such expense
I was not aware the Phaeton was no longer made.... I guess the press loves to re-tell the Edsel story instead of give VW flack
thanks Ted

Edited by - Skylark on 06/23/2020 16:53:54
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Skylark

USA

Posted - 06/23/2020 :  16:53:37  Show Profile
well I guess that would qualify as low production vehicle, too, then
but wow such expense
I was not aware the Phaeton was no longer made.... I guess the press loves to re-tell the Edsel story instead of give VW flack
thanks Ted

Edited by - Skylark on 06/23/2020 16:53:54
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