Audi AG

Jarred, rattled and shaken: Innovations in assembly of the new Audi A4

    - Cross-reference: photo was sent via satellite and is available

    Ingolstadt (ots) -

    * World's first combined ESP/shaker test rig
    * Fully automatic refuelling system
    The motto "Vorsprung durch Technik" applies not just to the cars
manufactured by Audi, but also to their production. One example is
the assembly of the new Audi A4 in Ingolstadt. Audi has invested
around DM 130 million in a new assembly shop with the most modern
production processes. Among the numerous innovations in A4 assembly
are the fully automatic refuelling system, the truck lift for
logistics handling and the combined shaker and ESP test rig - a world
first in car production.
    A first because up to now only separate test rig systems have been
employed in the automotive sector. The equipment used for the new A4
combines both technologies together in one test rig for the first
time. Once its assembly is completed, every Audi A4 must pass through
this stationary "torture chamber". It is jarred, rattled and shaken,
without moving even a metre from its starting point. AUDI AG has
filed for patents on the combined test system. The concept was put
into practice by Siemens.
    The Electronic Stability Program (ESP) is standard on all Audi
models. Contrary to the practice of other car manufacturers, Audi
subjects every completed vehicle to an ESP test on a test rig at the
end of the production line. Karl Unger, Head of Production Planning -
Superstructure/Structure Planning - Assembly at Audi, explains the
advantages of active ESP testing: "During the test,
transverse-acceleration, longitudinal-acceleration, and yaw-rate
sensors are checked by moving a vehicle about its transverse,
longitudinal, and yaw axes. The complete test is fully automatic. For
one minute the rig runs fixed profiles, and for one minute it runs
free. The parameters of the test programme run through a universal
proving system (UPS) with communication to the control unit. We
achieve reproducible test results with it, and so replace a
"double-S" run on the test track that would otherwise be necessary."
    This saves a great deal of time. And, as Karl Unger adds: "For
logistical reasons, it would hardly be possible at the moment to take
every new A4 from production to the test track on the company's site
and have the double-S run carried out there." After all, around 1,300
new A4 models come off the Ingolstadt assembly lines every day.
    The computer-monitored vibration test incorporates three tracks
with three different surfaces. An A4 fresh from the production line
is subjected to a rough-track test over cobblestones, bumps and
through potholes. During this time, customer-relevant creaks and
rattles are assessed which may occur, for example, in the region of
the glove box, centre console or instrument panel. Since the
vibration test takes place before suspension tuning, the shaking
encourages the early settling of body and suspension. The result: a
better long-term suspension setup in the subsequent operation.
    This is just one example of the numerous innovations that have
been incorporated into A4 assembly. Another innovation at Ingolstadt
are the two fully automatic refuelling systems. The operator only has
to open the filling cap by hand; all other operations are taken over
by his colleague, the "robot filling-station attendant". First an
operator had to carry out a complete filling operation by hand. A
mobile data carrier, which can be found on every vehicle, sends the
relevant information such as filling quantity, filling speed and fuel
grade to the 7-axis robot. The latter detects the filler neck with
the aid of a 3D camera system. And how does that work? Two cameras
take pictures of the filler neck from different angles, and this
information is used to determine its position. The process is based
on the stereo-image principle of the human eye.
    The computer calculates the displacement of the filler neck from a
pre-programmed standard point, moves the filling nozzle into position
and starts refuelling. The advantage of the 3D camera technique is
that different types of vehicle, in this case the A4 saloon and A4
Avant, can be recognised and filled using a single refuelling system.
The filling process takes on average one minute. The new car is
filled with between five and twenty litres of diesel, petrol or
different reference fuels depending how far it has to be driven.
After the refuelling process the robot uncouples and returns to its
start position. Finally the filling parameters are recorded on the
data carrier in the vehicle. The movements of the robot are
synchronised with the production line conveyor throughout the
refuelling process.
    Note: Text and photos can be called up from Please apply for a user name and password
to access the database by calling ++49 (0)841 89 36189. A photo of
the ESP/shaker test rig is also available from obs (dpa).
ots Originaltext: Audi AG
Im Internet recherchierbar:

Communication Corporate and Finance
Joachim Cordshagen, Tel: ++49 (0)841 89 36340,
Mobile: ++49 (0)172 9104468
Dr. Ute Röding, Tel: ++49 (0)841 89 36384,
Mobile: ++49 (0)172 9107428

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