VW wolfsburg ergonomicsGermany - New bodyshop AGVs, more automated assembly stations and a series of ergonomic measures will feature in a major upgrade at Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant

Announcing the new programme of improvements at this month’s site symposium, VW said that the changes will improve productivity at the Wolfsburg plant and will also achieve savings of around €186m.

A key focus for the improvements is the preparation for the start of production the Golf 8.

In the body shop, a new AGV system will use 23 transport robots for faster material supply. In assembly, a new robot station will automate bolting for engine mounts, impact beams, trailer hitch and seat belts into a single operation.

The ergonomic measures include support structures such as mounting seats, lifting aids and other tools to reduce physical work levels across vehicle assembly. The “surgeon-nurse principle” provides the employee with all necessary materials and tools within reach by means of moving carriages, a measure that saves up to 30 work steps, VW says.

Together with the technical development process improvements, VW says production time of Golf 8 will be reduced by about 4%.

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Plant manager Dr. Stefan Loth said: “In more than 400 workshops over the past few months, we have analysed around 700 work steps in order to leverage the remaining efficiency reserves. Overall, we identified an optimisation potential of €186m for the Wolfsburg location, which we aim to achieve by streamlining and automating processes, reducing work steps and best practice solutions by 2020.”