Following two and half years of investment and redevelopment at the Antoninek factory near Poznan, Poland Volkswagen Poznan started series production of new fifth generation of the Volkswagen Caddy.
All preparation work for the new model range was performed during normal production of Caddy 4. The main traunch of the investment was directed towards the new welding section, which has now over 450 robots which brings the level of automation at the plant up 80 percent. Until now the welding on the units was mostly manual.
But the new 46,000 sq.m facility is deemed to be ‘Green’, with lot of new solutions making the production climate friendly. The assembly systems are flexible. As an example; students participating in some projects invented a Smart Watch function with which production flow can be controlled by this hand device. With this innovation, the factory can save a lot on monitoring and controling instilations and time, resulting in rolling-off three additional units per day.
Regular production processes blends manual workers at various assembly points with autonomous robots, similar to todays modern, efficient facilities.
As the new part of the VW factory is located near Poznan City centre, the authorities agreed to close off one street, which was located inside new hall. This is not typical arrangement but confirms good collaboration and business relationship between Volkwagen and the City Authorities.
According to Dietmar Mnich, who heads up the VW Poznan plant, the factory will reach a production level of 600 Caddy 5 vans and passenger versions per day, as the order bank is flourishing. The Volkswagen Group owns and operates two other factories nearby, one in Wrzesnia, which builds the VW Crafter and MAN TGE LCVs.
The immediate future of the plant is strong. VW Poznan employs 8,500 people, who in June agreed and signed a Solidarnosc trade agreement to ensure job stablility to 2024.
Currently, 95 percent of VW production is destined for export. Initially, Caddy 5 will enter markets in Germany, Spain and France. It is due in Ireland before Springtime. Alex Glus – IVOTY