[SLIDESHOW] How the Porsche 918 Spyder is made
The Porsche 918 Spyder manufactory in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen is a real eye-catcher – both visually and in terms of the processes and variety of new developments in the field of assembly and quality assurance that take place there. Patent applications are currently pending for some of these innovations, which fulfill the very highest standards particularly when it comes to ergonomics. These innovations emphasise the fact “that our definition of innovation goes well beyond the vehicle itself”, as explained by Michael Drolshagen, who, as Director of Production, was involved in the designing the manufactory and who oversees the activities that go on there today.
The examples below give an overview of the ergonomic innovations in use at the plant:
Scissors lift platforms
The scissors lift platforms enable ergonomic assembly of vehicles, starting with the interior and working outwards to complete the exterior. The scissors lift platforms move from station to station at the push of a button, making the technicians’ work considerably easier when they need to fit a 140-kg high-voltage battery at the rear of a vehicle, for example. In addition, the scissors lift platforms ensure that the bodyshell can be fitted without causing any damage.
Assembly elevating truck
The battery-powered elevating truck has been designed especially for the Porsche manufactory. The truck carries the two-seater monocoque, which is the starting point of assembling the Porsche 918 Spyder. The elevating truck allows the monocoque shell to be rotated, tilted, lifted and lowered, meaning the interior of the vehicle as well as the 12-volt battery and the high-voltage wiring can be positioned with great ease. The ability to position components with ease is, in fact, the key to preventing damage when fitting the components.
During the “engagement” process, the electric motor and transmission module is connected in a de-energised state to the engine with the help of a specially developed trolley. Together, these components form the vehicle’s drive unit. At this point, the specially designed scissors lift platforms are used: They position the unit carrier above the drive unit so that both elements can be screwed together at three different points. The next stage of the process is called the “marriage”. The marriage involves the unit carrier and the drive unit being connected to the monocoque via six bolts.
Wheel alignment platform
Thanks to the new wheel alignment platform in use at the manufactory, all the essential parameters can now be measured within a very small space. These parameters include properties such as the cross load, track and camber, and each one can be configured to the optimum setting for the vehicle.
Leather finishing and assembly tables
The leather finishing and assembly tables used at the 918 manufactory set the benchmark when it comes to ergonomics and flexibility. For example, interchangeable inserts allow different components to be manufactured, ensuring that station times are fully utilised. Furthermore, the height of the tables can be adjusted along with the angle so that the table corresponds to the needs of the individual employee.
Bluetooth-controlled cordless screwdriver
The Bluetooth-controlled cordless screwdrivers are being used for the first time at Porsche. These screwdrivers endorse the philosophy at the manufactory because they work virtually silently and require no wiring. These features give the technicians maximum flexibility, and the risk of damage to components is greatly reduced. What’s more, coupling the screwdrivers with the database via a Bluetooth interface ensures that the torque values for all safety-specific screw connections are complied with and can be documented and checked at any time.
Electronic vehicle tracking card
The electronic vehicle tracking card, known as the eWbk for short, may not be an innovation for the Porsche 918 Spyder manufactory, but it clearly shows how the Zuffenhausen site – home to the 911 production line for five decades – has been able to effectively combine small-scale and large-scale production. A standard feature of large-scale production for many years, the eWbk system used at the manufactory also contains a wealth of information that is essential to the production process, including drawings and test points to name just a couple. In addition, the card can be used to document potential problems – perhaps if the feedback from the Bluetooth-controlled cordless screwdriver indicates that a particular torque was not reached.
Porsche model range 911: combined fuel consumption 12,4–8,2 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 289–191 g/km; efficiency class: G–F
Porsche 918 Spyder: combined fuel consumption 3,1–3,0 l/100 km, combined energy consumption 12,7 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions 72–70 g/km; efficiency class: A+”
IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.