Today’s Factory Automation

Building on my post a few months ago that looked at pre-WWII automotive manufacturing technology, I thought it would be interesting to contrast that with some state of the art (post-millennium) technology. I recently saw the below video, which is a fascinating look at a literally transparent Volkswagen plant in Dresden, Germany for the Phaeton.

The idea behind the factory is that customers and the general public can see the whole assembly process for the cars and (presumably) marvel at the level of quality and technological sophistication being used. It actually is a beautiful facility and, in typical German fashion, everything is always precisely in its place.

Amongst the features of the factory that I found particularly cool were the autonomous part delivery sleds that bring components to the assembly line, the inductive charging (from the floor!) of the part tracking modules, the inventory and progress tracking system itself (which registers when each individual bolt and other component is added), and the electric assembly lift. All in all, the factory is a great example of how far personal transportation manufacturing has come over the past 80 years. I have no doubt that it will be amazing to see where things stand after the next 80 years as well – bring on the flying cars.

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