Participant report on the DGM excursion to Volkswagen AG in Wolfsburg on 28.05.2019

Around 9:30 am on 28.05.19 I met the other 19 excursion participants as well as the committed DGM staff at the reception of the Open Hybrid Lab Factory (OHLF) in Wolfsburg. We were given name tags and started the excursion shortly before 10am, starting with the lightweight campus. In Germany, this campus is considered one of the leading addresses for research and development of hybrid components of the future with the motto "Motor for market readiness and basis for entrepreneurship". For the success of this research facility, a new cooperation model between scientific partners, market-leading industrial companies and smaller innovative companies with a start-up spirit was successfully introduced.

After a short introduction by the highly interested participants in the seminar room, Dr. Schauerte gave an exciting presentation on the Volkswagen Group. Trend topics from Group research such as electromobility, future driving assistance systems and innovative materials and material combinations were presented. In addition, it was clearly visible that Volkswagen AG is striving for a long-term sustainability concept in order to use resources more efficiently and reduce the company's CO2 footprint as far as possible. The lecture ended with an open round of questions and discussions in a relaxed atmosphere between students and research staff.

The presentation was followed by a guided tour through the research factory to gain a better insight into the value chain of hybrid components. Different stations such as the robot patch system, the 2,500 t hybrid forming press and the multiaxial scrim machine with warp and weft offset technology were shown and the associated methods for efficient production of fiber-reinforced components were explained by the research staff. In the following, the laboratories for surface and thermal analysis as well as high-resolution imaging were also presented. Subsequently, the manufacturing process of lightweight polymer components was demonstrated using a hybrid injection molding machine and photos of the participants were taken.

We were invited to lunch in the canteen of the lightweight campus and were able to enjoy the famous "Volkswagen Currywurst", which bears the "Original Part" seal of approval. The lunch was concluded with a summary of the Group's development since 1950 by Dr. Schauerte and further group photos were taken.

Around 1:30 p.m. we were kindly transported by bus from the research factory to the Wolfsburg main plant, accompanied by Mr. Rüggeberg. The plant is 6,500,000 m2 , which is about the size of 910 football pitches and currently employs around 60,000 people. The factory tour began at 2 pm with a short film about VW production in Wolfsburg. Immediately afterwards, we were able to immerse ourselves in the fascinating world of vehicle production and experience up close how a Volkswagen (or Seat) is made. The factory tour was carried out with an open vehicle in the style of the VW Golf and took about 90 minutes. Meanwhile we were guided through the production areas body construction, painting, press shop and final assembly and the different processes were explained to us in detail by the friendly and humorous tour guides. All participants gained unforgettable impressions of the latest production methods and were particularly impressed by the factory tour.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to the DGM, the Volkswagen AG and especially to Dr. Schauerte and Mr. Marc Rüggeberg for this outstanding experience and the first-class organisation.

I look forward to seeing you again soon at future DGM events.

 

Yordan Kalchev