Photo: Nils Hendrik Müller
Fascinating insights into the intricacies of automobile production
The newest Autostadt attraction focuses on the many different aspects of vehicle production. From Volkswagen Group sites networked around the world, to detailed descriptions of individual processes and materials, a wealth of information is presented in interactive high-tech displays designed to illustrate the complexities of modern car manufacturing. As a virtual factory, the exhibition highlights the interrelationships between humans and their role in day-to-day industrial operations. At the same time, it demonstrates advanced production techniques based on hands-on experiences.
The AUTOWERK is a state-of-the-art installation that directly engages visitors and draws them into the Knowledge sharing process. Its architecture and interior design create a high-tech environment that inspires inquisitive minds. Five separate segments covering 260 square metres of space invite viewers to delve deeper and gain new insights into the world of modern automobile manufacturing.
In the Interactive Production segment, a giant table with an integrated digital display comes to life by turning a big metal wheel that ‘steers’ visual sequences appearing on the horizontal screen. The presentation launches with a big-picture view of the globe. Each turn of the wheel brings the images closer into focus as blue dots emerge to mark the 106 Volkswagen Group production sites around the world. This clearly illustrates the scope of the global corporation in terms of its markets and manufacturing capacities. Zooming in reveals increasingly sharper images, progressing from a global view to regional and local levels.
In the Production World segment, picture frames lining the wall present ‘in depth’ images in the truest sense of the word. When viewers peer into one of the black boxes, a sensor triggers the action on what appears to be a small-scale video screen containing real-time elements. An illusion technique known as “Pepper’s Ghost” uses plate glass, mirrors and special lighting techniques to make objects appear or disappear, become transparent, or morph into different forms. Production World traces the path of industrialization from basic skilled trades to the digital age.
Down to Details
More comprehensive insight into the specifics of vehicle manufacturing can be found in the Production Detail section, which occupies nearly a third of the permanent exhibition space. Divided into seven segments, this is where a close-up look at modern automobile production begins. Cross-sectioned mock-ups on display expose the inner workings of cars built by Škoda, SEAT, Volkswagen, Lamborghini, Bentley, Audi and Porsche. The full-scale models feature elements designed to bring real-world production operations into focus. Each cutaway is accompanied by tools used in that specific phase of production along with an iPad containing interesting facts. Metal stamping, material construction, joining and filling techniques, paint, logistics, assembly – all this is explained in finely layered information. Users can choose a level of knowledge based on their specific interests. Adding impact to this unique cross-media exhibit, touch-sensitive controls activate video displays with further details. While the cutaways graphically depict different phases in the creation of an automobile, the interactive media stations along the wall give users a chance to dig deeper into the various topics.
People in Production
Human Focus, the fourth AUTOWERK segment, is dedicated to the people behind the scenes at Volkswagen Group production sites around the globe. In a series of face-to-face videos, workers from different parts of the world introduce themselves and describe their specific skills. They talk about day-to-day job situations and present tools of their trade. These instruments are embedded in the installation for closer examination and can be selected to launch the video clip. Listening to a young woman from Porsche talk about leather stitching, or a man from Lamborghini explaining how a tiny hammer is used to test carbon fibre is fascinating. At the same time, it portrays the spirit and dedication of the company’s
The Virtual Factory Tour brings all of the information together in an ultra-high definition video that takes viewers on an excursion through Volkswagen Group production facilities. In a series of spectacular on-screen sequences, visitors become immersed in the details of real-world automobile manufacturing. Using first-person perspectives, the film shows close-ups of each phase and makes the overall process more comprehensible.