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Digitization and Automation
 quality even further. What we are doing here is perfecting our production system.” The early stages of developing the con- cept with Porsche Consulting are very vivid in his mind. “Many of the ideas we came up with then have now become reality.”
The most obvious innovation in the Taycan assembly fa- cility is the absence of a fixed mechanical conveyor system. “This is a world premiere in automotive flow production,” says Luth. The cars are assembled on automated guided vehicles, or AGVs, which move on their own. Materials are supplied by around fifty smaller AGVs. The concept offers considerably greater flexibility. When a new version of the car body is add- ed, the same assembly system can be used. And even when the Taycan gets a successor some years down the road, the system will not need to be replaced or restructured. “The as- sembly program is even independent of the drivetrain,” says Kirchert. “We can use this concept to produce everything from battery-driven electric vehicles to all types of cars with combustion engines, because we stick to the standard as- sembly sequence. We don’t use takt times, but we always follow the same order.”
The assembly line can certainly breathe, so to speak. If one step takes longer for a car, the AGV moves more slowly and catches up later. In addition, the workers can accompa- ny “their” cars over a number of assembly stations. As Friedl notes, “It’s important to us that our highly trained employees do varied work and can see their results.”
Friedl goes on to describe how that also applies to other production lines, such as those for the two-door sports cars in Zuffenhausen. They too are being brought up to the latest technical standards and have received some innovations even earlier. He gives the following example: “Final inspections in- clude making sure the rear spoiler extends and retracts cor- rectly. The workers used to get into the car, extend the spoiler, and then get out to examine the operations and visuals. Today they simply activate the process on their smartwatches, which saves time.” The concept was first applied and optimized in the
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Christian Friedl, manager of Porsche’s Zuffenhausen site, views new technologies as a way to ease workloads for people.
existing sports car production system, and is now being used for the Taycan. The technology is also capable of much more. Instead of using external devices to test automotive functions, workers log onto a car’s on-board electronics. Production and vehicle data will one day merge. As Kirchert explains, “We’re going to have the cars’ electronics, or intelligence, test themselves, calibrate themselves, and notify us of any irreg- ularities. Artificial intelligence systems will also come into play here.” More- over, the factory’s digital twin will see further use. In the future, its ability to present virtual versions of different scenarios is expected to support pro- duction-related decisions.
The enthusiasm and pride of the project leaders are clear to see. Over a period of four years, 200 planners
and as many as 2,000 construction and plant experts were in- volved. Now the first flow production facility to assemble cars on automated guided vehicles has started up on schedule. This is a smart factory culture in pure form—in other words, the Porsche Production System 4.0—which will be further developed and ex- tended to other sites.
“Porsche cars will be
made by people for people
in the future as well.”
Zuffenhausen site manager, Porsche
Just forty months— that was the time allotted to e-car segment head Reiner Luth (left), planning head Wolfram Kirchert, and their team to start up Taycan production
in Zuffenhausen.
The—fully automatic— union of the painted car body and the chas- sis with the electric drivetrain is known as the “marriage” (right page, above).

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