The ‘Polo SUV’ is the brand’s first car with fully digital development. This means that the company did not have to build any prototypes during its creation. Until then, for each new project, up to 70 physical models were needed.
- See prices and versions of the Volkswagen Nivus
According to the automaker, this represented savings of up to 65% in this stage. However, Volks did not say how much it failed to spend.
1 of 11 Volkswagen Nivus had 100% digital development – Photo: Reproduction
Volkswagen Nivus had 100% digital development – Photo: Reproduction
The technology also helped to simulate assembly steps. Thus, the movements that workers must make on the production line have been studied and optimized.
In addition to digital development, the production itself has been modernized. 90 new robots were installed, mainly in the areas of stamping and frame of the body. The automation of the lines, by the way, is increasing, not only in the German automaker.
G1 accompanied, exclusively, visited the Nivus assembly line at the São Bernardo do Campo (SP) plant, one of the oldest in the country. In the last 60 years, more than 14 million vehicles have left, including classics such as Beetle and Kombi.
Today the unit produces 3 other models, in addition to the Nivus: Polo, Virtus and Saveiro. All on the same assembly line.
Coronavirus requires changes
2 of 11 Volkswagen employee temperature measurement – Photo: Disclosure
Volkswagen employee temperature measurement – Photo: Disclosure
During the G1’s visit, a week before the car’s launch, only one shift was operating. The production restriction was adopted by several automakers and is part of the resumption actions after the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, on June 1.
Right at the entrance, employees arriving at 6 am have their temperature checked. They are only allowed access if the thermometer is below 37ºC.
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In addition, everyone should wear masks. In workstations where it is not possible to stay at least 1 meter away, employees also use acrylic face shields.
3 of 11 In stations where employees are less than 1 meter away, the use of facial protectors is mandatory at Volkswagen – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
At service stations where employees are less than 1 meter away, the use of facial protectors is mandatory at Volkswagen – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
Chartered cafeterias and buses had reduced capacities. Even on the production line, in small “islands”, where employees take breaks during working hours, stickers were fixed, showing where each worker can sit, respecting a distance of at least 1 meter. It is possible to find alcohol gel on several tables.
4 of 11 Location for breaks in the Volkswagen production line also received alcohol gel and adhesives for employees to keep their distance – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
Location for breaks in the Volkswagen production line also received alcohol gel and adhesives for employees to keep their distance – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
Currently, the production rate at the factory is 55 vehicles per hour. On the day of the visit, Volkswagen expected to assemble just under 400 vehicles.
The automaker proposed that the report should know some of the editing steps in practice, but on the day of the recording, only one of them was allowed to participate: the placement of the badges.
5 of 11 Shelf on the assembly line brings together all the templates and stickers with vehicle emblems – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
A shelf on the assembly line gathers all the templates and stickers with vehicle emblems – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
In the case of Nivus, as the Volkswagen logo is already mounted on the trunk lid, then there are only three parts to be placed: one with the name of the car and two with the engine.
Unlike other tasks that can be performed by robots, this one is completely manual.
The process is quite simple, and begins with placing the plates in molds. Then, next to the vehicle on the line, the employee fixes the templates on the body in the correct position, using magnets.
6 of 11 Trained employee takes less than 1 minute to place car emblems on Volkswagen – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
Trained employee takes less than 1 minute to place car emblems on Volkswagen – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
Then, just run your hand over the nameplate so that it is glued. The last step is to remove the molds. It takes an employee less than a minute to complete the task. But for those without experience it is not that easy.
7 of 11 Cars arrive at the Volkswagen assembly and take an elevator to the ground level of the shed – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
Cars arrive at the Volkswagen assembly and take an elevator to the ground level of the shed – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
The assembly sector is divided into 6 large corridors, internally called “arms”. Each of them is subdivided into several other posts, these are called “tacts”. The placement of the emblems, for example, is in the touch 16 of the arm 1.
It all starts when the structure arrives from the painting shed, in the so-called tact 1. Before the elevators lower the bodies to the ground level, the doors are removed – they will only rejoin the rest of the car later on.
8 of 11 In the first part of the assembly, the car arrives without doors and receives a fire wall, pedals and seals – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
In the first part of the assembly, the car arrives without doors and receives a fire wall, pedals and seals – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
In the first “arm”, workers still need to install all the door seals, pass the harnesses with tens of meters of cables, fix the hood and trunk opening rods, the fire wall and the emblems.
To assist workers, there are screens that show the specifications of the model that is passing through that point of the line, in addition to a large sheet, printed with various codes, that identify accessories that the vehicle must have.
In the following steps, where it was not possible to make any image, the cars begin to receive panels and the electronics. Setting up this part on a Nivus, for example, requires more time than on a Saveiro or Polo.
9 of 11 Sheet printed with codes helps employees with the exact specifications of that model at Volkswagen – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
Sheet printed with codes helps employees with the exact specifications of that model at Volkswagen – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
More complex electronics
But, in the other processes, the steps are very similar – mainly with Polo and Virtus, “neighbors” of the Nivus line, and who share the same platform.
In “marriage”, a stage where the chassis with engine and gearbox is coupled to the body, the machinery is the same.
10 of 11 Stage of ‘marriage’ in the Volkswagen production line, when the body is joined to the chassis with a mechanical assembly – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
Stage of ‘marriage’ in the Volkswagen production line, when the body is joined to the chassis with a mechanical assembly – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
There is a greater differentiation only when the vehicles already run with their own forces and reach the final adjustments. There, in addition to adjusting the alignment of the wheels and headlights, the Nivus equipped with adaptive cruise control undergo an adjustment in the sensors and radars.
With the assembly completed, a professional with well trained eyes still does a final check, in a cabin with special lighting. The lights help in the search for imperfections in the body. If there is one, he returns the vehicle to the line.
If everything is right, the car takes a nice “shower”, to validate the body sealing and proceeds to the patio.
11 of 11 Employee with trained eyes looks for imperfections in the body of the Volkswagen Nivus – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
Employee with trained eyes looks for imperfections in the body of the Volkswagen Nivus – Photo: Celso Tavares / G1
Despite sharing the line with 3 more models, Volks said it installed 90 new robots to be able to make the Nivus. Many of these machines are located in another warehouse, and are used in the framing and stamping phases.
In addition to the platform, mechanical assembly, electronic components and finishing parts, Nivus and Polo also share front doors, roof and windshield – a solution also adopted by other models from different manufacturers.
Fiat Strada, for example, uses Mobi’s front doors and windshield.
Volkswagen Nivus has Polo platform, but should steal customers from T-Cross; G1 met
But the Nivus has the “feat” of being the first Volkswagen car that was developed in Brazil and will also be produced and sold in Europe next year.
To date, the closest thing that local engineering has achieved is Fox, created by the local team and exported to Europe. Only the hatch was not very successful there.
The Nivus will also inaugurate Volkswagen’s new identity, with the updated logo – launched in September, at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Another novelty is the 10-inch multimedia center, also created by the Brazilian team. It has internal storage of 10 gb, and can receive several …