Explore the future of automotive production right now at the Gläserne Manufaktur – with its innovative specialists, autonomous transport systems and robot coworkers.
Brightly lit, quiet, and clean – at Dresden’s Gläserne Manufaktur, the zero-emissions future begins already with production. Workers in white overalls have been assembling the new e-Golf* here since 2017. They mount control units and install cockpits, seats and doors. The chassis, batteries and suspension components are delivered. Self-driving transport systems glide silently through the hall on the light beige parquet flooring. The plant uses 100 percent green power. From 2001 to 2016 the Volkswagen Phaeton was made here by hand, with about 56 cars produced every day. Now 72 all-electric Golfs* roll daily from the production line, made on two shifts a day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
To make work processes ergonomic for employees, ever more robots will be used to assemble vehicles in the future, doing tasks such as bolting on the safety belts. Whereas human assembly workers normally have to bend down and twist their bodies in order to reach the installation points, at the Gläserne Manufaktur they now simply put a robot into the car, and it does the rest.
At the test station located six kilometers away, experts are studying new functions for cars. Dresden has an advantageous location for developing mobility-on-demand solutions, because the results can also be tested across nearby international borders. A traffic-sign recognition system that works well on roads in Germany, for example, might initially mistake a vehicle weight limit posted on a bridge in Poland or the Czech Republic for the speed limit.
Volkswagen promotes digital transformation not only in its cars but also in its production and logistics facilities. In search of innovative software for digitalization in these areas, the Smart Production Lab at Group IT is developing its expertise at the Gläserne Manufaktur. While specialists in Wolfsburg work primarily on robotics and autonomous transport systems, the team in Dresden is conceiving and developing IoT software and putting it into practice.
This is not a new topic at the Gläserne Manufaktur. To make order picking more secure and efficient, specialists are implementing a Pick-by-Local-Light (PbLL) system following a successful test period in March 2018. The system uses multicolored LEDs to guide employees through the picking process. Complex procedural steps and scanning errors for barcodes and labels are now a thing of the past. That in turn frees up time for the work of the future.
The Gläserne Manufaktur also serves Volkswagen as a test lab for new production systems and technologies. Its specialists experiment with robots, test different processes and develop ways of integrating them into mass production at other plants. Assembly work at the Gläserne Manufaktur is thereby helping to advance automation. In the research center known as the Technikum, several robot stations are being installed as test fields on the Dresden site. The robots do jobs, such as installing ceilings and assembling and removing doors, that would be physically demanding for people. This forges closer ties between humans and machines.
*e-Golf: Power consumption in kWh/100 km: 12.7 (combined); CO2 emissions in g/km: 0 (combined); efficiency class: A+