With the disinfectant dispensers this would have been theoretically possible. “However, in order to avoid high acquisition costs and long delivery times, we considered how we could produce the devices ourselves,” explains Nieschulze. On the Wednesday before Easter, the colleagues from the plant engineering department in Emden went to Braunschweig for a brainstorming session, and one day later the first concept sample was discussed in a video conference. And then the construction of the prototype began.
“The team from Emden, which was put together at short notice, immediately took up this challenge enthusiastically. Everyone contributed their ideas and wanted to make the system a success,” says production manager Thomas Scholz, citing as an example the colleagues from the vehicle production department. “They searched every corner of our factory for parts that we could possibly use for the disinfectant dispenser.”
Parts from the Volkswagen world
This consists of exactly 146 individual parts, most of which come from the Volkswagen world. The nozzle from which the disinfectant comes is normally installed in the windscreen cleaning system of the Passat. The stainless-steel bowl in which the employees hold their hands during disinfection is also used in the salad bars of the Volkswagen canteens.
Initially, the search for a suitable main body for the system caused headaches. The first ideas – among others, to take a shelf from the hardware store – were all rejected. On the three-hour drive back from Braunschweig to Emden, Friedrich Strömer, who is known among his colleagues for his creative solutions, had the brilliant idea: The body is made of metal barrels that were previously used as transport containers for adhesives and would normally be scrapped. “They are exactly the right size and are extremely stable due to their shape,” says Strömer, who is the head of equipment and plant construction in Emden.
The production of the prototype was a real team effort. About a dozen colleagues were involved, says production manager Scholz. Whether welders, electronics engineers, toolmakers or industrial mechanics – each contributed their know-how. “This example shows how much potential we have in our company and what comes out when everyone pulls together,” enthuses Scholz and speaks of a “great feeling” when the prototype was put into operation on Easter Saturday, as hoped – and was accepted by the work safety department the following week.