“Changing clothes in the closet”
The conversion started in 2018. At the current production start of the ID.31, the first of two production lines has been completely rebuilt since the summer of 2019. For this purpose, the body shop, paint shop, assembly and infrastructure were extensively modernized and renewed. Among other things, the entire conveyor technology had to be prepared for the electric cars.
The site’s second line will be converted in summer 2020 according to the same pattern and will become operational in the same year. “The conversion of the factory is progressing well and is fully on schedule,” says Reinhard de Vries. “It’s like changing clothes,” he compares and explains: “While we are expanding and optimizing our factory here in Zwickau, we are automating and digitizing the entire production at the same time.” Nine thousand tons of steel are being added, a 50,000-square-meter hall space is being built and 1,625 robots are being installed in the body shop. Fifty partner companies support the conversion. Thirty percent of the previous systems are being reused.
And as if that was not enough reconstruction, at the same time, in a large training offensive all 8,000 employees are being qualified for the new tasks. All employees are taking part in information talks and seminars on e-mobility. Up to 3,000 Zwickau colleagues will go through the e-mobility training center, where they receive in-depth training for the new production requirements. As many as 1,500 employees will acquire the so-called high-voltage driver’s license. “All in all, the Zwickau team will complete around 13,000 training days by the end of 2019,” says Holger Naduschewski, Managing Director of the Volkswagen Training Institute.