Sunday, 25 September 2022

ŠKODA VISION GT: a digital design model of an emotive, all-electric racing car

ŠKODA Design has reinterpreted the concept of the ŠKODA 1100 OHC from 1957 and is presenting the computer-animated design model VISION GT, a study of an all-electric racing car made in Mladá Boleslav. Alongside its forebear, the design concept is currently on show in the ‘Design and Transformation’ exhibition. Hosted in Brussels, the display is part of the supporting programme of the Czech Republic’s EU Presidency. The computer-animated design model ŠKODA VISION GT is among the highlights of the ‘Design and Transformation’ exhibition in Brussels. To mark the Czech Republic’s EU presidency, a number of Czech companies are presenting products and designs from 1990 to 2020 at this event. In creating the VISION GT model, the ŠKODA Design team found inspiration in the ŠKODA 1100 OHC from 1957. The automaker is using the concept to send a clear signal for sustainable sportiness and emotion in the digital age. The digital VISION GT ties in with the tradition of the ‘Icons Get a Makeover’ series, which includes iconic models from the company’s history, such as the 130 RS, FELICIA and RAPID MONTE CARLO. Just like the 1100 OHC, the VISION GT is a red, open-top racing car. However, it is designed as a single-seater, with the driver sitting in the centre of the vehicle. Above the futuristic carbon steering wheel, which is flattened at the top and bottom, there is a flat on-screen bar that doubles as a windshield. Important information is projected directly onto the driver’s helmet visor, similar to a head-up display. An active cockpit with a flexibly suspended seat is designed to optimally compensate for g-forces. The exterior of the flat VISION GT is characterised by clear lines and sharp edges. The design echoes current Formula E racing cars, which is particularly evident in the spectacular two-piece rear wing. Active aerodynamics also ensure optimum driving performance at all times. Shining in bright red between the two upper wing profiles is the new ŠKODA wordmark in the form of a hologram. It also appears on the very flat front of the VISION GT and references the curved ŠKODA line. The ‘Design and Transformation’ exhibition at the Design Museum in Brussels is open until 8 January 2023, with some exhibits also on display at Prague House in Brussels until 2 October 2022. Article source:

Sunday, 18 September 2022

Visions of the future in Manchester: Audi brings young talents to the One Young World Summit

New ideas for a better world: The One Young World Summit, held in Manchester from September 5 to 8, will bring together more than 2,000 young people to discuss the societal challenges of our time. The program of this year’s conference is characterized by a wide variety of topics for a world worth living in. Audi will also be part of the event. The company, along with Bentley and the Audi Environmental Foundation, is sending a total of 29 employees and scholarship holders from all over the world to England’s northwest – with groundbreaking projects in tow. Xavier Ros, Member of the Board of Management for Human Resources and Organization at AUDI AG, sees recognizing and promoting sustainable innovations by young pioneers as a fundamental task of our time and part of Audi’s DNA. “One Young World is much more than the usual networking between like-minded business leaders and companies. It is a meeting place for young activists, future leaders, and current decision-makers from business, politics, and society. If we really want to make a difference for our future, we need to inspire others to join us on this path,” says Xavier Ros, who has been Member of the Board of Management for Human Resources and Organization at Audi since May 2022, in summary of Audi’s commitment to One Young World. Ros will use his keynote speech at the beginning of the conference – which will also be his first public appearance as Audi’s new Member of the Board of Management for Human Resources and Organization – to support sustainable innovation and business models in direct dialogue with young talents. This year’s conference will focus on conflict prevention, gender equality, ocean ecosystems, ethical leadership, and health. More than 2,000 participants from over 190 countries are expected to attend, among them high-ranking guests from the world of politics and science, such as former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The Audi delegation consists of ten selected Audi employees from all production sites and four Bentley employees, as well as 15 external scholarship holders whose projects are supported by the Audi Environmental Foundation. All 29 representatives are between 21 and 35 years old and have launched promising projects aimed at sustainability, environmental protection, and social justice. This deliberate mix of employees and young founders who are independent of Audi is Audi’s way of promoting the exchange of ideas within and outside the company. Focus on a sustainable future One delegation member is Philipp Eder. The sustainability strategist from Audi Procurement is working on implementing material cycles, his efforts already resulting in pilot projects with automotive glass and mixed plastic waste. “At Audi Procurement, our goal is to use secondary materials wherever it is technically possible and makes ecological and economic sense,” says Eder, who works for Audi in Ingolstadt. “For me personally, it is a great pleasure to be part of Audi’s sustainability story. I am able to put my personal passion for sustainability into practice and make our supply chain more sustainable and circular every day.” Next, Eder wants to work with partner companies from the Audi supplier network to process irreparable car windows so that they can be used as secondary material in new car glass. Franziska Trautmann is participating in the conference as an Audi Environmental Foundation scholarship holder. The American commissioned the first glass recycling plant in the state of Louisiana. There, Trautmann and her team from “Glass Half Full” now process glass into sand, which is then filled into the sandbags that are essential for survival in flood-stricken Louisiana. “My vision is to roll out Glass Half Full throughout Louisiana and the United States. There are so many large cities without glass recycling that also have problems with coastal erosion and where sand can be an advantage,” says Trautmann. In total, “Glass Half Full” has already collected and recycled more than one million kilograms of used glass. “I look forward to networking with other young executives from all over the world and learning from them about their organizations and their expertise,” says Trautmann about her anticipation of the event. Part of Audi’s “Mission:Zero” strategy On the conference stage, Rüdiger Recknagel, Chief Environmental Officer at AUDI AG and Managing Director of the Audi Environmental Foundation, and Peter Bosch, Member of the Board for Manufacturing at Bentley Motors Ltd., will also discuss the efforts of the brand with the four rings to reduce its ecological footprint. “Audi is bundling all environmental protection activities in production and logistics in the Mission:Zero environmental program,” explains Recknagel. “Mission:Zero focuses on four areas of activity: decarbonization in production and logistics, water use, resource efficiency, and biodiversity. Our ambitious goal is to achieve net carbon-neutral production by 2025 and to halve water consumption at all plants by 2035.” About Audi subsidiary Bentley, Peter Bosch says: “Our “Beyond100” strategy outlines our road to sustainability. It builds on the carbon-neutral status of our factory since 2018 and continuing to off-set less. Our intention is to become carbon neutral, end-to-end, and 100% electric, from 2030.” First held in 2009, over the years the One Young World Summit has become a permanent annual fixture for decision-makers and future leaders around the world. Audi has attended every year since 2016. Article source:

Saturday, 10 September 2022

Volkswagen presents all-electric ID. XTREME off-road concept car in Locarno

Electrifying surprise at the ID. Treffen in Locarno: Volkswagen presents the ID. XTREME in Ticino today, an exceptional off-road concept car that will generate an enthusiastic response among the many electric mobility fans at the event. The fully electric concept car with all-wheel drive system is based on the ID.4 GTX and combines the strengths of a modern SUV with the sense of adventure embodied by a rugged off-road vehicle. The ID. XTREME from Volkswagen stands for maximum emotion and a desire for adventure. The concept vehicle was created by the team of Andreas Reckewerth (Head of overall vehicle MEB) in the Volkswagen Development department. “The modular electric drive matrix (MEB) has enormous technical potential,” says Silke Bagschik, Head of the MEB Product Line. “For many of our customers, vehicles are much more than just a means of transport. With the ID. XTREME, we are raising electric mobility from VW to a new performance level.” The result of the project is a unique off-road vehicle that impresses with its rugged appearance and outstanding power. A high-performance drive on the rear axle and software adaptations in the drive control unit increase the system power of the concept car by 65 kW to 285 kW compared with the ID.4 GTX – in other words, by about 30 percent. “The ID. XTREME is made by enthusiasts at Volkswagen for ID. enthusiasts here in Locarno. We are really eager to find out how the fans of electromobility react to the vehicle. Based on the feedback from our community, we will decide how to proceed with the project," adds Silke Bagschik. The exterior of the VW ID. XTREME also shows that the vehicle is ready for every off-road adventure. Raised rally running gear, 18-inch off-road wheels, a modified crash member with additional front bumper, and 50 mm-wider wings manufactured by 3D printing combine to give the concept vehicle an authentic off-road look. The roof carrier with additional LED lights and the completely closed aluminium underbody also equip the fully electric all-wheel drive vehicle for excursions away from paved roads. Acoustically also, the ID. XTREME has something special to offer: the driving noise was developed together with Volkswagen Design especially for the concept vehicle and is output to the outside via a sound generator in the wheel housing. In the interior, the concept car impresses with various highlights, including numerous Alcantara applications, revamped seats and elements in the accent colour orange. And it goes without saying that the ID. XTREME is sustainable: a no longer required test vehicle from production development and a used 82 kWh battery were taken as the basis for the concept vehicle. Volkswagen is presenting the ID. XTREME to the public for the first time at the ID. Treffen in Locarno. The event by and for fans of electric mobility is taking place for the second time this year and could become the green and sustainable event for electric mobility modelled on the GTI meeting at Lake Wörth (Austria). This year, ID. enthusiasts from the whole of Europe are meeting up on the shore of Lago Maggiore from 6 to 10 September to share their experiences with electric mobility. Initiated and organized by private members of the ID. Drivers Club the ID. Treffen is supported by Volkswagen as part of its commitment to the way to ZERO. Together with experts from the company the team of the Volkswagen Drivers Club is attending the event to provide insights into the current developments in the area of sustainable mobility. Alongside the ID. XTREME, Volkswagen is also presenting other models from the ID. family in Locarno. Article source:

Sunday, 4 September 2022

Volkswagen Group and Canada aim to advance sustainable battery supply chain in North America

Volkswagen AG and the Government of Canada aim to promote e-mobility in the country and to explore opportunities across Canada’s automotive and battery supply chain. This was agreed in a "Memorandum of Understanding" (MoU) signed today in Toronto by Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess and Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, in the presence of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Both parties will investigate opportunities for Canada to contribute to Volkswagen’s global and regional battery supply chains. PowerCo, the newly founded battery company of the Group, has a central role in these efforts and will drive forward the planned cooperation in the fields of battery value creation, raw materials supply chains and cathode material production in the North American region. PowerCo SE is responsible for all global Group activities along the battery value chain, securing battery cell supply for Volkswagen's e-mobility push. The rapidly growing global battery cell business is a key pillar of Volkswagen’s NEW AUTO strategy, which aims to make Volkswagen the leading provider of sustainable and software-driven mobility. The plan is to quickly build up highly standardized cell production capacities totaling 240 gigawatt hours per year in Europe alone. In addition, there are plans to establish a dedicated gigafactory in North America. Possible production sites are currently being examined. Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany: “I welcome that Volkswagen and Canada have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on battery value creation today. This is excellent proof that the cooperation with our close friends and allies in Canada is further deepening also in the context of raw material security and may encourage other companies to follow." The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said: “Canada is quickly becoming the green supplier of choice for major auto companies, including leading European manufacturers, as we transition to a cleaner, greener future. By partnering with Volkswagen, Canada is strengthening its leadership role as a world class automotive innovation ecosystem for clean transportation solutions. Canada is committed to building a strong and reliable automotive and battery supply chain here in North America to help the world meet global climate goals.” Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen Group: “Volkswagen has been vigorously pushing the transformation to e-mobility, recognizing the industry‘s responsibility in the global battle against climate change. The Group today not only offers the broadest range of electric models to customers but is also rolling out an ambitious battery and charging strategy. Working hand in hand with governments around the world is an absolute prerequisite to meet our climate goals and I want to thank the Canadian government for their support. The supply of battery raw materials and the production of precursor and cathode materials with a low carbon footprint will allow for a fast and sustainable ramp-up of battery capacity — a key lever for our growth strategy in North America.“ Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Board of Management member for Technology: "As an automaker, we see compliance with stringent sustainability criteria as a top priority. For us, the availability of power from renewable sources and a raw materials sector with mines supplying materials conforming to the globally recognized environmental and social standards are crucially important. That is why Canada is an ideal partner for our e-mobility and battery strategy.” Joint statement with respect to sustainable battery manufacturing and reliable raw material supply For the development of sustainable battery production, both parties intend to boost cooperation based on recognized ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) criteria between PowerCo and the Canadian mining sector, which is seen as a world leader in terms of responsibility and transparency. For this purpose PowerCo is planning to establish a new, dedicated liaison office in Canada. A key focus of cooperation is the supply of critical raw materials such as lithium, nickel and cobalt. Both parties see significant prospects for Volkswagen and PowerCo to ramp up cathode material production together with partners and to offer Canadian suppliers an opportunity to act as raw material suppliers, refiners and processors. With its vast raw material resources, good infrastructure and highly developed automotive industry with considerable production expertise and highly qualified workforce, Canada sees itself outstandingly well-positioned for joint projects. Schmall commented: “The Government of Canada is a forward-thinking, effective enabler of businesses creating future-proof, well-paying jobs for Canadians, particularly in the green economy. This is one reason why Volkswagen and PowerCo are excited to work with such an approachable partner offering promising cooperation and engagement at all levels of government.” Next Step of Growth Strategy for North America The Volkswagen Group brands plan to offer the most comprehensive electric product portfolio in North America with more than 25 battery-electric models by the end of the decade; at the same time, strong regional capabilities for EV research and development, vehicle assembly, component production and supply relationships are being expanded across the North American continent. “We’re committed to bringing electric mobility to consumers and communities in North America. Today’s agreement between the Volkswagen Group and the Government of Canada will enable us to work closely with local suppliers and expand our capabilities,” said Pablo Di Si, incoming President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “We continue to invest in electrification with plans to launch more than 25 battery-electric vehicles planned by 2030. A broad-based supply of raw materials from across the region will be key to support our ambitious growth plans.” Article source:

Saturday, 27 August 2022

The Golf R “20 Years” is the fastest Volkswagen R ever on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife

The stopwatch says it all: the new Golf R “20 Years” is the fastest R model of all time on the German racetrack Nürburgring-Nordschleife. The anniversary vehicle with its increased power has bettered the previous lap record of a Golf R on the 20,832 km long racetrack once more by four seconds. The Golf R “20 Years” clocked an official lap time of 7:47.31 minutes. Thanks to its exclusive standard equipment, optimised driving dynamics and a standard output of 245 kW (333 PS), the Golf R “20 Years” offers significantly improved performance and guarantees an emotionally charged motorsport experience between the “Schwedenkreuz” and “Döttinger Höhe” track sections. The sporty edition to celebrate the 20th anniversary delivers 10 kW more than the current Golf R production model. Equipped with this engine power, the Golf “20 Years” accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds; its electronically limited top speed is 270 km/h. Thanks to the significantly improved engine response, the increased power also makes itself noticeable in everyday situations such as overtaking manoeuvres. But it is not just the power of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine that makes the special-edition model the most dynamic Volkswagen R of all time on the Nordschleife. The clear increase in performance is also the result of the extensive standard equipment with technical highlights such as the R-Performance package, Driving Dynamics Manager and R-Performance Torque Vectoring. What could be a better place to test this combination than the Nürburgring- Nordschleife? The evolution of the powerful all-wheel-drive Golf R models can be impressively followed here over the last 20 years. Touring car race driver and Volkswagen R development driver Benjamin Leuchter took on this task and tested the special-edition model on the legendary race track. He was also actively involved in the realisation of the R-Performance package for the Golf R “20 Years”. Alongside the regular “Comfort”, “Sport” and “Race” driving profiles, the special-edition model also comes as standard with the additional “Special” and “Drift” profiles. For driving on the Nordschleife, the race driver chose the “Special” driving profile, which was developed for this track. This profile gives the vehicle a set-up that meets the unique requirements of what is probably the most demanding race track in the world. This includes adjusting the shock absorbers to a more soft and comfortable setting due to the enormous loads at the maximum performance level when driving on such tracks. As one of the 15 possible settings of the controlled shock absorbers, this guarantees optimum road contact on tracks with a large number of bumps, just like the Nürburgring. Together with the adapted steering wheel and drive settings, this makes it possible to take the large number of fast and medium-fast bends on the Nordschleife in an ideal way. In “Individual” mode of the Driving Dynamics Manager, it is also possible to manually adjust all parameters, such as R-Performance Torque Vectoring or the engine sound, and adapt them in line with personal preferences. The timed lap of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife took place with a flying start in front of grandstand T13. The start and finish for the measurement are at the start and end of the grandstand – the 200 metres in between are not counted. Trust in the vehicle is not just the key to lap records, but also to safe driving pleasure. Staying on line at all times, the Golf R “20 Years” effortlessly mastered the fast changes between kerbs and the following bends such as “Hatzenbach”. The modified shift characteristics of the 7-speed gearbox allow gear changes with more intensive feedback and make the powerful driving experience in the Golf R “20 Years” even more emotive. The optimised exhaust system sound in the low engine speed range and the rougher engine sound in the vehicle interior underline the vehicle’s increased dynamic performance. The step forward in development compared with the predecessor model is also shown by the enhanced engine tuning of the Volkswagen R anniversary vehicle. The preloaded turbocharger is also kept at a constant speed in overrun mode so that the engine can develop its power more quickly in subsequent acceleration. This process is supported by the continuously open throttle valve. When the driver takes their foot off the accelerator and then accelerates again, this allows faster build-up of the torque and noticeably improves the engine’s responsiveness. The Golf R “20 Years” with its performance-oriented drive technology achieved a speed of almost 240 km/h at the “Schwedenkreuz” crest, while 265 km/h was measured at the “Döttinger Höhe” on the Nürburgring. The new record time of 7:47.31 minutes means an improvement of four seconds compared to the predecessor model and a special gift for Volkswagen R to mark the 20th model anniversary. Blurring the lines between production and race cars. The Golf R “20 Years” effortlessly bridges the gap between everyday companion and thoroughbred athlete. “With this car, I can drive here on the Nürburgring and the next stop is then the baker’s or the DIY store. The vehicle is really an all-rounder that can do everything,” says a visibly impressed Benjamin Leuchter. And that is exactly the concept pursued by Volkswagen R: Volkswagen’s premium performance brand has already been offering special models since 2002. With their enhanced performance and expressive design, they generate enthusiasm all over the world in the Volkswagen fan communities. The continuous and rapid development towards even greater performance can be easily seen by taking a look at some of the vehicle data of the models from past years. Starting with the Golf R32 with 177 kW (241 PS) and a 3.2-litre six-cylinder engine as the drive unit, through the Golf 6 R with 199 kW (270 PS) and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, the performance-oriented Golf models up to the Golf R “20 Years” with 245 kW (333 PS) have not just become more powerful, but also faster. Volkswagen R is celebrating this successful model development with the Golf R “20 Years”. The production period limited to approximately one year makes the special-edition model a collector’s item as soon as it rolls off the production line. Articles source:

Sunday, 21 August 2022

Optimized battery management and infotainment: ŠKODA launches software update ME3 for ENYAQ iV

ŠKODA AUTO will start installing the new ME3 software version for already delivered ŠKODA ENYAQ iV vehicles with immediate effect. This will enable a higher real drive range through optimisations in battery management. The software also offers numerous improvements for the Digital Cockpit and the head-up display, the infotainment system and the ŠKODA Connect online services. Owners of qualifying vehicles will be contacted by their local ŠKODA partners and asked to book a free service appointment to install the new software. The process takes about five hours. From then on, most future updates will be performed over the air. New ŠKODA ENYAQ iV vehicles and the ŠKODA ENYAQ COUPÉ iV already come with the new software as standard. A short video also provides an overview of these optimizations. ŠKODA AUTO is performing a software update for existing ENYAQ iV vehicles, as part of a free service campaign. The software version ME3 with which, of course, all now delivered models of the ENYAQ iV family are already equipped, offers a variety of optimizations: it ensures an increased real drive range by optimising battery management and also includes new functions for the displays, the infotainment system and the ŠKODA Connect online services. Local ŠKODA partners will contact the relevant owners of an ENYAQ iV and ask them to arrange a free service appointment at the workshop. Installing the ME3 software version takes around five hours. In addition to all the current improvements, once this is done the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV will be ready to have most future updates installed over the air, without the need to come in for another visit to the workshop. In terms of battery and charging, the new software offers, among other things, a battery care mode in which the battery is only charged to a maximum of 80 percent during the next charging process. This helps to conserve the battery and extend its service life. However, its full storage capacity and maximum charging speed will be available at any time, should there be a need for them. The maximum charging rate increases to 120 kW for vehicles featuring the 62-kWh battery and 135 kW for models with the large 82-kWh battery. Thanks to improved thermal management of the battery, the real drive range increases for the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV family. The charging and range graphics in the infotainment system now also include a display of the destination and any required charging stops. There have also been improvements to the Digital Cockpit and the head-up display, including displays of the current battery charge level. The rear-view camera offers increased contrast, for improved visibility of the vehicle’s surroundings. A button on the multifunction steering wheel allows the driver to switch quickly and easily between Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Travel Assist. In addition, numerous ŠKODA Connect online services have been expanded or refined, making them even more intuitive to use. ŠKODA has so far delivered more than 70,000 vehicles from its ENYAQ iV family to customers, giving the SUV a 3.5% share of the all-electric vehicle market in Europe. The Czech carmaker’s flagship is in seventh place in the ranking of the most sold BEVs across the EU. A look at the individual European markets also highlights the success of the ENYAQ iV series: In the brand’s Czech domestic market, ENYAQ iV family models are top sellers among BEVs, as they are in Slovakia, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands, while they rank third in Austria, Switzerland, Latvia and Estonia. Article source:

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Audi Production Lab: The link between an idea and high-volume production Skip sidebar

Audi uses its Production Lab, or P-Lab for short, to identify new and innovative technologies and reliably integrate them into production sequences. In Gaimersheim, just a few minutes drive from the Ingolstadt plant, experts under P-Lab director Henning Löser test the suitability of trailblazing new solutions for series production. That means finding and testing innovations that reliably help optimize efficiency, ergonomics, flexibility, and quality in Audi plants. When sharp minds work together, a comfortable couch isn’t always necessary. Certainly not in Audi’s Production Lab. Anyone who enters the hall in Gaimersheim feels like they are in a combination of a shop floor and an IT lab. In one corner are the 5G antennas. Diagonally across from them, an industrial robot is sitting on its base. Behind that are the server cabinets. IT experts sit at desks looking at their computers. “We take an idea that worked once under lab conditions and get it off the ground so it can go into stable 24/7 operation,” Löser explains. “We don’t need a big sofa or a football table for that.” For Löser, a real production environment is much more important. In the past, new technologies were inadequately assessed because Audi couldn’t try them out first. To change that, the company with the four rings created the Production Lab in 2012. Since then, Henning Löser's team has tested intelligent assistance systems that employees support with new variants in the mesh between the person and the machine. These systems conserve resources and continuously develop and improve procedural safety and workplace ergonomics. One example is modular assembly, Audi’s assembly and logistics concept that is the only one of its kind in the world. Every day, experts research and test new high-tech solutions like Ingolstadt shop floor IT or 5G for mass production suitability in increasingly networked, digitalized production. “In the process, we are constantly in touch with our colleagues in production so we can be sure we can implement our ideas,” says Löser, who has overseen the P-Lab since 2016. “We show them exactly what we're working on. There’s no point in us developing something theoretical that nobody uses in practice. We test and learn.” Stability Is Critical Stable production is critical for Audi and the P-Lab. “Our goal is 99.9 percent reliability,” says Löser. “We must assess how good uptime is in daily use.” How good is the corresponding service concept? How should colleagues from maintenance be trained so that the new application operates without interruption? “We only transfer new technology into production when our colleagues say something truly helps them,” the P-Lab boss explains. Another important factor is whether a good area of application even exists within the production process. Paradigm Shift in Automation The technologies that have occupied the workers in the P-Lab over the past ten years have changed significantly. They operate on the principle of ‘higher, faster, further’. “Making production better is like a competitive sport,” says Löser. “That means we use more cameras, more sensors, and above all, more algorithms in production.” Nonetheless, the system must operate steadily. “Make things as simple as possible. Then they won’t break,” the P-Lab boss says. Right now, a paradigm shift in automation is well underway. “If we use 100,000 cameras in production, we also have 100,000 industrial PCs that do the assessment,” he explains. “But then who takes care of maintenance and repairs on that equipment? Who updates the operating systems? At some point, the cost of maintenance exploded.” Driverless vehicles are another example. The more Audi uses, the more functionality and fleet managers it needs. On top of that, there is also equipment maintenance and monitoring. “The overall efficiency has to be right,” says Löser. The solution: work based on software and cloud technology. Updates go via the server – with three mouse clicks. Löser says, “Right now, we're running our shop floor IT in the Ingolstadt Heifer via a central server solution.” Experts Are Looking Toward the Future The P-Lab plans and tests far in advance. According to Löser, traditional production planning did not allow that kind of leeway. 5G is one example. Since 2018, the P-Lab in Gaimersheim has operated a 5G base station. To use 5G as a radio network suitable for automated production, the standards that must be applied are not the same as those for downloading videos. For example, controlling the equipment requires URLLC (Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications). The tests in Gaimersheim enabled them to work out requirements for the global 3GPP standard and contribute them to groups that maintain standards. “We did our part to make 5G function seamlessly as a radio standard in automation,” Löser explains. The lab’s work ranges from controls for a safety cell with robots that must turn everything off within ten milliseconds to logistics applications that link containers using massive device connectivity. “We’ll need that when it comes to the future of production and logistics,” says Löser. Direct Exchange Makes Pragmatic Solutions Possible Today, more than 30 staff members from the Production Lab work closely with the various sites. Because inter-departmental colleagues from all production areas work simultaneously in the P-Lab on a range of projects, the number of workers is multiplied five or six times by temporary lab users. “Something is always going on in the P-Lab. Direct interaction with the users is important,” says Löser. Audi Production thrives on an open innovation culture, enabling the team to innovate. It makes the P-Lab an attractive employer for ambitious IT experts and engineers. Löser says that technologies can drift to a certain point in a lab. The most recent mistakes only arise through use and must be eliminated on the spot. “To stay flexible, we need a smart factory that responds quickly to fluctuations in demand,” says Löser. “We can't just try out new ideas in serial production while it's happening. That would be disastrous. We’re in the P-Lab to do the necessary tests and take the next steps in smaller pilot projects. After that, we test out the technology, for instance, in the real lab of the Ingolstadt Heifer and take it to mass production from there.“ Article source: