VOLKSWAGEN: automotive manufacturer – PLM Ramp up reducing Time-to-Market

Improvement of the planning process in the early phase of the product development process by providing information, data and services in a central web-based tool
Improve the process by reducing time and effort for data aggregation and increasing quality of product related evaluations
Improve the support of distributed team work in car projects
Improve the traceability of product requests

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Description of the trial

The trial focuses on the early phase of product development related to the production planning and especially the product changes influencing the machinery (production equipment planning). . The information from the Machine Repository (MR) is used by the planning department to consider technological standards in order to evaluate and to minimize the investment costs. The information about each machine facility within the MR will be updated continuously during the entire life cycle and will be used in the following serial implementation process. The trial focuses on the production equipment life cycle management. The maintenance and the asset history of the machinery are summarized in the machinery repository. The Machinery Repository has strong relations to the PLM-System level, where the aggregated data is coming from.

FITMAN Volkswagen Trial fact sheet

Innnovative service and functionalities

  • Making the Machine Repository (MR) available to all engineers/production planners

  • Implementing standard processes for managing the MR

  • Increasing reliability by reducing assessment errors

  • Reducing time for creating an evaluation report

  • Implementing standard processes for the evaluation procedure

  • Increasing MR accessibility for different work places

  • Having a single entry point for MR information

Impact & benefits

The main values of the Performance Indicators and the Business Processes are time and costs. It should be possible to reduce the needed time for a Business Process by using the FITMAN trial solution, a web based service with all needed information and tools. The main results obtained are: reduction in the MR update cost and time, decrease in the inquiry respond time and cost, reduction of the average lead time to access experts knowledge about production equipment, and decrease of the evaluation accuracy rate.

Technical challenges

Volkswagen IT policies are very sensitive regarding data security. One major challenge they implicate: they don’t allow the storage of data in a public cloud. As an alternative solution to the use of a public cloud, it was decided to host a private cloud infrastructure at IPK and restrict the access to VW and IPK only. Thus, it was necessary to set up a private cloud on IPK premise. For the trial solution, we decided to use a virtual machine on our institute’s vSphere cluster as OpenStack host. This setup brings the advantage of faster deployment and configuration flexibility as well as much lower hardware costs. After the installation and testing of the OpenStack environment, we had to adapt the GEs and SEs of the VW trial in such a way that they are able to run on OpenStack. We devised a workflow to transform the existing VirtualBox images into images suitable for the OpenStack cloud. Ongoing efforts concerning the OpenStack cloud platform at IPK include regular maintenance tasks, mainly security updates for the host as well as the guest operating systems.

Business challenges

The FITMAN-project's automotive OEM industrial trial is focused on improving certainty and reliability of estimated figures of in-house production costs at early stage of decision-making, e.g. if a production module is suitable for a new product. This estimation utilizes and is based on existing digital factory systems, tools and planning environment. Due to the high amount of available, detailed data of production modules the process is very complex. Therefore, a higher level of abstraction is required in describing/specifying the production modules. This level of abstraction needs to be closer to the product in order to be checked whether a production module in the MR is suitable or required for the product. This means: From detailed production equipment data in Production Planning databases (e.g. bill of material, layout, design data), more abstract and product-related, value-adding-process-related data have to be extracted and stored in the machine repository. Also a visualisation of the production module with its processes should be provided.

IT PARTNER: Fraunhofer IPK

IPKs objective is a rapid transfer of research results into the corporate practice. IPK works on integrated solutions in close cooperation with the industry. The division Corporate-Management developed methods and tools for enterprise modelling which are used in industry as backbone for the management processes as well as new services for manufacturing planning. IPK has successful experiences in developing new production planning services. IPK has research projects in crowed production, sustainable product lifecycles, manufacturing control and flexile configuration of global production networks. In FITMAN IPK provides a private cloud infrastructure for the VW trial as well as the technical trial realization. This will lead to further research and service activities in terms of modular shop-floor IT integration into modular platform concepts as well as the improvement of the production planning process not only in automotive.


The Volkswagen Group with its headquarters in Wolfsburg is one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe. In 2014, the Group increased the number of vehicles delivered to customers to 10.14 million (2013: 9.731 million). The share of the world passenger car market amounts to 12.9 percent. The Group comprises twelve brands from seven European countries: Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN. Each brand has its own character and operates as an independent entity on the market. The product spectrum extends from low-consumption small cars to luxury class vehicles. In the commercial vehicle sector, the product offering ranges from pick-ups to buses and heavy trucks. The Volkswagen Group is also active in other fields of business, manufacturing large-bore diesel engines for marine and stationary applications (turnkey power plants), turbochargers, turbo machinery (steam and gas turbines), compressors and chemical reactors, and also producing vehicle transmissions, special gear units for wind turbines, slide bearings and couplings as well as testing systems for the mobility sector. The Group operates 119 production plants in 20 European countries and a further 11 countries in the Americas, Asia and Africa. Every weekday, 592,586 employees worldwide produce nearly 41,000 vehicles, and work in vehicle-related services or other fields of business. The Volkswagen Group sells its vehicles in 153 countries. The Group’s goal is to offer attractive, safe and environmentally sound vehicles which can compete in an increasingly tough market and set world standards in their respective class.