Volkswagen officially inaugurated the press shop expansion in its electric car plant in Zwickau. As of now, the complete outer skin for the six electric models produced in Zwickau will be pressed on site.
The €74-million investment will enable further gains to be made in reducing the carbon footprint of the ID.3 and ID.4. The expansion enables more than 9,000 fewer direct truck journeys each year for body manufacturing—corresponding to a share of 16% of the direct truck volume for body manufacturing at the Zwickau plant—and thus annual savings of 5,800 tonnes of CO2. The expansion will also create 60 new jobs in the factory.
The first new outer skin parts for the ID. vehicles from the new large press at the Zwickau vehicle plant.
The goal is to achieve carbon-neutral production at all MEB locations in Europe, as is already the case at the Zwickau plant. Zwickau is the pioneer and role model in this respect. And the new press shop is an important milestone on our “Way To Zero” journey, through which we are aiming to reduce the environmental impact of our production by 2025 in areas such as energy usage, CO2 emissions, waste and the use of water by 45% per vehicle compared with the baseline year 2010.—Christian Vollmer, member of the Board of Management with responsibility for Production and Logistics for the Volkswagen brand
The €74 million invested in expanding the press shop represents one of the largest single investments in the course of transforming the site. In addition to a press in XL format, an automatic stacking line and a high-bay warehouse 30m in height for logistics have been put into operation on the extra 8,400 square meters of space. The high-bay warehouse alone cost €23 million.
From now on, all required outer skin body parts, such as doors and trunk lids, can be pressed on site for the electric models produced in Zwickau. Delivery from other locations, such as Emden and Wolfsburg, will cease.
Start of the new press in Zwickau.
The heart of the expansion is the new XL press from Schuler, which weighs some 180 tonnes. It is one of the most modern presses in the automotive industry. It has a press force of 6,900 tonnes across five stages. With 10,800 press strokes a day, the 92-meter long, 22-meter wide and 12-meter high press is extremely efficient. One of the main reasons for this is the drive. This is the first time that a press with a mix of conventional and servo technology is being used in the Volkswagen Group. Zwickau thus offers the advantages of both technologies: the high speed means that large numbers of parts are pressed, while the excellent precision ensures optimum quality.
After the parent plant in Wolfsburg, the Zwickau facility now has the second-largest press shop within the Volkswagen brand. Around 20 million parts per year have been produced on average in West Saxony in the past ten years. With the new XL press, this figure is set to increase to up to 30 million parts per year by the beginning of 2022, some of which will continue to be supplied to other Group sites.
Zwickau is playing a key role in the system change in the direction of electric mobility: for the first time, a large car factory is being completely re-equipped for electric mobility with an investment of some €1.2 billion. All conversions will be completed on schedule this year.
The plant has been changing over gradually since 2018, without halting operations. Since then, body manufacturing, the paint shop and infrastructure have been modernized and refurbished extensively. Among others, the entire conveyor system had to be readied for electric vehicles. In addition, both production lines in assembly were converted. With around 1,700 robots in body manufacturing and assembly, driverless transport systems and fully automated production processes, Zwickau is the role model for forward-looking volume production of electric vehicles.