Porsche opens new plant for eight-cylinder engines; digitalization and data management; V8s for all VW Group brands
Porsche has officially dedicated a new engine plant for eight-cylinder engines. The factory at the main site in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen works with state-of-the-art production methods, leveraging digitalization and data management. At full plant utilization produces around 200 eight-cylinder V-engines daily. The sports car manufacturer has invested nearly €80 million in the new production facility.
Porsche’s new engine plant will also contribute towards synergies within the Volkswagen Group. Plans call for producing the eight-cylinder V-engines for all Group brands in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen from this point forward.
Flexible interlinkage of manufacturing and automation. The core aspect of the new engine plant is its flexible production system, in which manufacturing and automation are interlinked. Assembly of the innovative eight-cylinder V-engines, which will at first only be used in the new, second-generation Panamera, requires extremely precise processes.
Porsche stands for sporty high-performance engines: from engine design to series production. We are further extending our competence in this area with the new engines. This is how we will assure our customers the driving pleasure of tomorrow and safeguard the future jobs of our employees. At the same time, we are creating the necessary foundation for successfully leading Porsche into the new age of electric mobility.—Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG
The human workers are assisted by state-of-the-art machines and tools. Around 100 innovations were incorporated into the production system concept. For example, Porsche implemented industrial transport vehicles that are user-programmable. The electric transporters, which are powered by lithium-titanate batteries, navigate over a grid network of 16,000 magnets that are mounted in the floors of the two plant levels. Their flexibility makes it possible to readily adapt production processes to potential product changes and new methods later on.
The EC tools are just as adaptable. Their presets for torque or speed, for example, can be modified at any time via the electronic production network. This means that they are not limited to a specific place of use, but can essentially be used universally in assembly and only need to be mounted at the new work location—“re-cycled”—and are then programmed for their new task.
Ergonomically optimized tools make tasks easier for workers to perform due to their improved ease-of-use. The assembly of a new engine begins every 3.5 minutes. 95 workpiece carriers transport the engines along the line designed in a U-shape that is a total of 432 meters long. In 110 work cycles, of which 71 are in the manufacturing areas, the eight-cylinder engine is produced in 6.2 hours.
Porsche is increasingly making use of digitalization and data management capabilities in its production process for the new eight-cylinder V-engines.
Around 2,300 units of data can be retrieved for each engine after it has been finished and tested. Any fluctuations in quality are detected very early at their onset and are prevented from having an effect.—Christian Will, Vice President Aggregate and Components at Porsche AG
The new Panamera: new V6 and V8 biturbo engines. Porsche unveiled the second-generation Panamera at the end of June. All of the second generation Panamera’s engines have been redesigned. Three new biturbo direct injection engines are being introduced at the market launch: in the Panamera Turbo, the Panamera 4S and the Panamera 4S Diesel. All of them—and for the first time including the diesel—may be equipped with a permanent all-wheel drive system and a new eight-speed Porsche dual-clutch transmission (PDK).
The new V8 gasoline engine delivering 404 kW/550 hp powers the Panamera Turbo; a V8 diesel with 310 kW/422 hp and a maximum torque of 850 N·m powers the Panamera 4S Diesel.
Porsche uses complex twin-scroll turbochargers to supply compressed air to the V8s’ combustion chambers. The two counter-rotating chargers produce maximum torque figures at very low engine speeds.
The turbochargers of the new Panamera engines are integrated centrally into the V of the cylinder banks. This central turbo layout yields numerous benefits. The engines are more compact, and this enables a lower mounting position. This, in turn, has a positive effect on the vehicle’s center of gravity. The short paths between the two turbochargers and the combustion chambers also produce spontaneous throttle response.
Engine response can be further increased using the optional Mode Switch with the Sport Response Button. The Mode Switch, which was first introduced in the Porsche 918 Spyder, is an intuitively operated rotary ring on the steering wheel, which can be used to activate one of four driving modes (Normal, Sport, Sport Plus or Individual). Located at the center of the switch is the Sport Response Button. It can be used to free up the maximum power potential of the Panamera at the press of a button.
Initially, the Panamera Turbo has the most powerful gasoline engine of the model series. The 4.0-liter biturbo V8 develops 404 kW / 550 hp (at 5,750 rpm) and a maximum torque of 770 N·m (568 lb-ft) between 1,960 and 4,500 rpm.
It has 30 hp more power than the previous model, and its maximum torque has been increased by 70 N·m . The eight-cylinder engine accelerates the Panamera Turbo to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds; with the Sport Chrono Package the sprint time is just 3.6 seconds. The Porsche can reach a top speed of 306 km/h (190 mph). The engine features a power-to-weight ratio of just 3.6 kg/hp.
These performance figures contrast with lower combined fuel consumption figures which, at 9.4 – 9.3 l/100 km (25 - 25.3 mpg US), are up to 1.1 l/100 km less than that of the previous model (New European Driving Cycle or NEDC). These figures equate to CO2 emissions of 214 – 212 g/km.
The Panamera Turbo is also the first Porsche to be equipped with the new adaptive cylinder control in its engine. In part-load operation, the system temporarily and imperceptibly turns the eight-cylinder into a four-cylinder engine. This reduces fuel consumption by up to 30%, depending on power demand in the four-cylinder phases.
Multifunctional plant structure enables flexible growth. The new engine plant, the construction of which was started in early 2014, is located in the western expansion zone of the main Porsche production site.
The building floor area comprises around 10,000 square meters. The factory is subdivided into two levels, with logistics on the ground floor and engine assembly on the upper floor.
The multifunctional structure of the production area can be recognised by very few permanent architectural features that would limit flexible usage. The concept preserves the option of adding new thematic content and new products. Consequently, the partitioning and periphery of the new engine plant have been prepared for growth.
The building was built in the northeastern zone of a 25,000 square meter land parcel that Porsche acquired as an expansion parcel. The three-story entrance area with offices and social spaces is along the front side, so that space will be available on the other side of the building for constructing expansion structures. Within the building, the architectural design reserves space for the installation of another work level on the first upper level.
Porsche is also achieving a milestone in terms of sustainability in the construction of its engine plant. The new construction is part of Plant 4, which is one of the first industrial quarters across Germany to receive a gold rating in its pre-certificate from the German Society for Sustainable Construction (DGNB). The building was evaluated based on 40 sustainability criteria.
Among other things, a photovoltaic system on the building’s roof generates up to 242,500 kilowatt-hours of electrical energy annually. That represents savings of 105 metric tonnes of CO2 that would be emitted by conventional electrical generation. Moreover, large sections of the roof are landscaped with plants and contribute towards improving air quality.
Investment programs. In past years, Porsche has invested more than €300 million (US$332 million) in its main production site in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Adjacent to the new engine plant, where there was previously a wiring plant, the company is planning to retrofit what was once a transmission production facility into central workshops. A new training center for the youngest Porsche employees has been built on land that was previously a street car depot.
In order to implement future projects and further develop downtown business sites, Porsche AG has expanded its land holdings in Stuttgart to over 600,000 square meters through purchases and has thereby more than doubled its land area.
In upcoming years, Porsche is planning additional investments of well over €1 billion (US$1.11 billion), which will assure the resources needed to support its successful growth course. The primary innovation driver is the first battery-electric sports car. In Zuffenhausen alone more than 1,000 new jobs will be created for this product. The company is investing around 700 million euros in its main production site. The next few years will see the construction of a new paint shop and a separate assembly plant there. The engine plant will be expanded to produce electric drives, and the existing body manufacturing shop will be expanded. Investments will also be made in such areas as the Development Center in Weissach.