Audi etches symbols into car paint

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Audi has developed a process for the partial matting of painted surfaces. With this procedure the lettering “Audi Sport” was etched on the Audi R8
  • Patented process modifies surface sheen to create matt lettering and graphics
  • Audi Board of Management Member for Production Prof. Dr. Hubert Waltl: “A high degree of individualization with maximum efficiency and flexibility”
  • Available for the first time in the Audi exclusive program for the models Audi R8 Coupe and R8 Spyder

Audi has developed a process for the partial matting of painted surfaces. A special powder roughens the clear lacquer on the surface to a depth of a few thousandths of a millimeter so that individual markings become visible. With this process, the Audi exclusive program offers personalized design of the side blades for all R8 customers.

The process developed by Audi experts makes each Audi unique. As the desired symbols are applied to components after being painted, the process can easily be integrated into normal series production. “The method of partial matting is an excellent example of the flexibility of our production. Being able to implement individualization in normal series production is one of the aims of our smart factory,” stated Prof. Dr. Hubert Waltl, Member of the Board of Management for Production at AUDI AG.

Painting an automobile consists of – in addition to the cathodic dip coating to protect against corrosion – at least three further coats: filler, base coat and the transparent lacquer as the top protective coat. With the newly developed process, a template of the desired pattern is first placed on the component. A blasting system then sprays a special powder onto the surface, which roughens the clear lacquer to a depth of just a few thousandths of a millimeter – less than a tenth of the thickness of a human hair. This creates the effect of a matt and homogeneous pattern.

“With this process, we modify the brilliance of the paintwork and the intensity of its sheen. Light hitting the surface is then reflected diffusely by the individualized surface areas. This makes it appear matt,” explained project manager Dr. Erhard Brandl. Production section head Mirko Endres added: “This form of individualization is weather resistant, unlike conventional lettering and stickers, and it has a much more high-quality appearance.”

The Audi paint shop can apply almost any pattern that a customer might desire and which does not affect any third-party rights. At present, components with a size up to a meter by a meter can be processed in this way. The super sports car Audi R8 is the first model for which this technology is offered through the Audi exclusive individualization program. If desired, R8 customers can have their individual lettering and graphics applied to the side blades of the Coupe and the open Spyder version. It is planned to extend the offer to other models in the future.

Via Audi MediaCenter

ROLLS-ROYCE MOTOR CARS ISSUES CLARIFICATION FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENTS BY ROLLS-ROYCE PLC

  • Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is a completely separate company from Rolls-Royce plc
  • Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BMW Group
  • Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has no involvement whatsoever in issues relating to alleged bribery and subsequent legal settlements reached by Rolls-Royce plc
  • Rolls-Royce Motor Cars just announced second highest sales in the marque’s 113-year history

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is issuing this statement in order to clarify confusion and misreporting that has arisen in certain media around the world, following recent statements issued by Rolls‑Royce plc.

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Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is a completely separate company from Rolls-Royce plc which manufactures power systems for aircraft, ships and land applications. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BMW Group (Munich), based at Goodwood near Chichester in West Sussex, United Kingdom. It commenced business on 1 January 2003 at its new global production facility.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars manufactures and sells the world’s pinnacle super-luxury automobiles, including the Phantom, Ghost, Wraith and Dawn range of models.

As an entirely separate company, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has no involvement whatsoever in issues relating to alleged bribery and subsequent legal settlements reached by Rolls-Royce plc with authorities in various jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom, the United States and Brazil.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has recently announced its second highest ever annual sales result in the marque’s 113-year history, up 6% on its 2015 results. A total of 4,011 cars were delivered to customers in more than 50 countries, affirming the Brand’s strength and resilience in a year of challenging market conditions for luxury goods worldwide.

Source: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars PressClub

Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant: Mercedes-Benz starts production of the new E-Class Coupé

 

  • Latest model joins Saloon, Estate and All Terrain in the successful E-Class model series.
  • E-Class Coupé is integrated in the highly flexible production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
  • Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management: “The production start of the E-Class Coupé is part of the ongoing rejuvenation of our model range and continues our growth path. The new Coupé offers our customers the most intelligent technology, together with a range of high-quality features. We implement this variability into our production flexibly, efficiently and in top quality.”

Bremen – Series production of the new E-Class Coupé has started at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen. This latest addition to the successful E-Class family follows the Saloon, the Estate and the All Terrain off-road variant, which have been rolling off the assembly line at the Sindelfingen plant since last year. A long-wheelbase version of the new E-Class is built for the Chinese market at the company’s plant in Beijing.

“The production start of the E-Class Coupé is part of the ongoing rejuvenation of our model range and continues our growth path”, commented Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management. “The new Coupé offers our customers the most intelligent technology, together with a range of high-quality features. We implement this variability into our production flexibly, efficiently and in top quality. During the start-up phase, we were able to benefit from the excellent collaboration between the plants in Sindelfingen and Bremen.”

Technically based on the Saloon, the sporty and exclusive Coupé marks a next step in the evolution of the Mercedes-Benz design language. At the same time, it offers the intelligence of the E‑C lass family with full smartphone integration, Widescreen Cockpit and the latest driver assistance systems with the option of, among other things, partially automated driving. Powerful engines with low exhaust emissions and comfortable suspensions with selective damping provide the guarantee of a sporty and agile driving experience. The Coupé is already available to order and will be on its way to customers from spring 2017.

Integration into ongoing series production

The new E-Class Coupé is produced at the Bremen plant as part of a flexible system alongside the C-Class Coupé and C-Class Cabriolet. The team was able to integrate a further start-up into the running series production in a very short space of time, while the plant is working to full capacity. “The new E-Class Coupé is a further top-of-the-range model that is set to enhance the contemporary appeal of our product portfolio at the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant,” says Peter Theurer, Site Manager of the Mercedes-Benz Bremen Plant. “The ability to build such a diversity of models in Bremen is made possible by a highly flexible production system and intelligent manufacturing concepts, for example by producing all our Coupés and Cabriolets on one line. Once again, the team in Bremen has demonstrated superb flexibility and speed while also, from the very start, delivering Mercedes quality.”

The Bremen plant currently produces ten different models, and thus the highest number of variants of any plant within the Mercedes-Benz Cars production network. By the end of the decade, the list of vehicles “Made in Bremen” will encompass the full range of intelligent drive systems – from the classic combustion engine and plug-in hybrids through to fuel cell and electric vehicles.

“Together with our colleagues, we are excited about the successful start of production of the new E-Class Coupé and the resulting positive perspective for the site in Bremen,” says Michael Peters, Chairman of the Works Council at the Mercedes-Benz Bremen Plant. “It’s always a great achievement bringing a new vehicle onto the streets. Each start of production – and we had a lot of them in the past – proves that our experienced colleagues meet new challenges in a highly professional way.”

Extensive features thanks to highly flexible production

The new E-Class Coupé is available with a wide range of features, requiring an intelligent production system. During the development phase, the feasibility of the various steps of the production process was tested through a virtual assembly. A start-up team from Bremen contributed to optimise the efficiency and ergonomics of the production process with their experience and know-how they gained with previous model series.

The production of vehicles to customers’ individual specifications is underpinned throughout the assembly process by an intelligent logistics concept. Driverless transport systems deliver baskets containing the precise components and parts required for the individual vehicle to the production line, where they are fitted without the need for intermediate buffering. The high level of variance means that virtually every vehicle is unique.

A further factor contributing to the successful series integration of the E-Class Coupé was the close cooperation between Bremen and Sindelfingen. During the start-up phase, the Bremen team had recourse to the experience gained by their colleagues in Sindelfingen with the new E-Class model series, for example with regard to introducing new testing procedures for the complex electronic systems in the Coupé.

About the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen is the biggest private employer in the region with more than 12,500 employees. Ten different models are being assembled here at the moment: the Saloon, Estate, Coupé and Cabriolet of the C-Class, the Coupé and Cabriolet of the E-Class, the SUVs GLC and GLC Coupé as well as the two Roadsters SLC and SL. In 2015, the plant was rewarded as “ Factory of the Year” in the category large-scale production. As lead plant of the C-Class, Bremen directs the worldwide production of the highest-volume model series in the plants abroad in Tuscaloosa/USA, Beijing/China and East London/South Africa. The assembly of the new GLC is also directed by Bremen as the main production site.

Via press release Mercedes Benz

World’s first full scale test environment for future road safety: AstaZero

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Asta Zero’s test track

AstaZero is the world’s first full-scale test environment for future road safety. What is unique about the facility is that the different traffic environments make it possible to test advanced safety systems and their functions for all kinds of traffic and traffic situations. This enables research, development and certification of future road safety systems, and functions as an international arena open for vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, legislators, universities and colleges from throughout the world.

The name is a combination of ASTA Active Safety Test Area and Zero, which refers to the Swedish Parliament’s vision for road safety with zero dead and seriously injured in traffic.

One of AstaZero´s primary objectives is to strive to meet Vision Zero, since traffic and road use is a major and increasing cause of fatalities around the world.

Every year some 1.3 million people die as a result of road traffic accidents. In addition, about 20 to 50 million people sustain non-fatal injuries. More than half of the casualties are pedestrians, cyclists or other road users, not travelling in a car. If no action is taken to address the current crisis, global road traffic fatalities are forecast to double by 2030, becoming the fifth leading cause of death.

In addition to human suffering, this would also put an extreme burden on society. A burden we can ill afford, neither financially nor in the context of our health care systems.

Due to this risk, the UN General Assembly proclaimed “A Decade of Action for Road Safety” in 2010. The goal of the Decade is to save lives, challenging the countries of the world to increase their own national, and global, road safety work to prevent road traffic deaths and injuries worldwide.

The EU has also set ambitious goals for road safety. According to the 2011-2020” (EU893) policy the objective is that member countries must together have reduced the number of road accidents by 50 per cent by the year 2020. Active safety, as well as test facilities where new techniques can be tested, will play a part in the contribution of making this vision reality.

Design: AstaZero’s total surface area amounts to about 2,000,000 square metres (200ha) with a paved surface of 250,000 square metres (25ha). The facility is encircled by a 5.7km highway connected to a city environment with four blocks, 40m by 25m. AstaZero also features a high-speed area consisting of a circle, 240m in diameter, with “drop add-ons” joined to a 700m long multi-lane road.

Test environments

Rural Road: The rural road contains ten different points, both open and concealed, where objects will appear in front of the vehicles. The area is specially designed for different tests of driver behaviour and is well-suited for the use of hidden or suddenly appearing obstacles. At the road, there will be two T-junctions and a crossroad with signage in the specified language and changeable to suit customer requirements. The Rural Road will also have bus stops/lay-bys at two locations.

City Area: The City Area will primarily be used to test the vehicle’s capacity to interact with the surrounding environment to avoid hitting buses, cyclists, pedestrians or other road users. The area therefore covers a number of different sub-areas, such as a town centre with varying street widths and lanes, bus stops, pavements, bike lanes, street lighting and building backdrops. The City Area also has a road system with different kinds of test environments such as roundabouts, T-junction, return-loop and lab-area.

Multi-lane Road: The Multi-lane road consists of four lanes. These are connected to the High-Speed Area, with an acceleration road that is approximately 300m long, 7m wide and with a turning loop for long vehicles. Several different scenarios can be tested on the multi-lane road, such as lane changes, different collision scenarios and crossing scenarios.

High-Speed Area: Located in the centre of the facility, the High-Speed Area consists of two acceleration roads. Acceleration road one is approximately 1km long. In addition to the two acceleration roads, it is also possible to use the Multi-lane Road for acceleration, which means vehicles can enter the High-Speed Area from three different directions. In this area, focus will primarily be on vehicle dynamics like avoidance manoeuvres at very high speeds.

AstaZero Location:

The test site is strategically placed in the centre of the West Sweden automotive cluster and the assembled expertise that exists within the field of safety. For more related information, see Sweden and traffic safety.

Services:

  • Unique environments to build any scenario in order to develop, test or certify new traffic safety solutions; making it possible to test literally all aspects of active safety in one place.
  • Centre of Excellence in development of methods and test equipment.
  • Test ground cooperation
  • Simulation of the entire test site to run pre-tests or for the early stages of research and development.
  • A high level of service where a customer´s problem and its solution are the focus of the entire operation.
  • Demonstration facility and assistance with product launches, conferences and corporate events.

AstaZero does not only provide a unique test environment, but also help clients to analyse and draw conclusions from results by supplying research engineers and other technicians who can assist in testing, development and research projects. In time, this will create an even higher level of analytical expertise around the automotive industry in Sweden, which will benefit international customers because it will allow them to test all aspects of active safety in one place.

In addition to the opportunity for testing, research and development, AstaZero also host demonstrations and assist with product launches, conferences and corporate events.

Learn more about AstaZero at www.astazero.com

17 year high for British car manufacturing with US demand up nearly 50% – the UK’s single biggest export country

  • 1.7 million cars built in the UK in 2016, an increase of 8.8% and the highest output for 17 years.
  • Exports at record levels for the second consecutive year as more than 1.35 million shipped worldwide.
  • More than one in two cars exported to Europe, our single biggest trading partner, with demand up 7.5%.
  • Demand for British-built cars in the United States rises 47.2% to 196,127.

Thursday 26 January, 2017 UK car production achieved a 17-year high in 2016, according to the latest figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 1,727,471 vehicles rolled off production lines last year, from some 15 manufacturers, an 8.8% uplift on total production 2015 – and the highest output since 1999.

More cars are now being exported from Britain than ever before, the result of huge investment made over recent years in world-class production facilities, cutting-edge technology and design, and one of Europe’s most highly skilled and productive workforces. Ten brand new car models began production in the UK last year, nine of them from premium brands, which has helped make the UK the second biggest producer of premium cars in Europe, after Germany, and the third biggest car producer.

Top five British manufactured bestsellers in the US
1. Honda Civic
2. Range Rover Sport
3. Jaguar  XE
4. MINI
5. Range Rover

Production growth was predominantly driven by overseas demand, with global appetite for British-built cars rising by 10.3% to an all time high of 1,354,216 – a second consecutive annual record. Around eight out of every 10 cars manufactured in the UK is now exported, bound for one of 160 markets worldwide.

Growth was strong across a number of global markets, most notably the US, where demand rose by almost half – the highest rate of all UK Automotive’s top 10 export destinations. American motorists now buy more British cars than those in any other single country, taking 14.5% – more than one in seven – of all UK car exports, up from 11% in 2015. Significant uplifts were also seen in Turkey, Japan and Canada, while China, third on the list of exports markets, grew by a more modest 3.1%, with 88,610 UK cars exported last year.

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Continuing economic recovery across Europe drove much of the growth, with production for the continent boosted by 7.5% to 758,680. The region not only accounts for more than half of UK car exports, but supplies the majority of the components fitted to them (65%), underlining the critical importance of tariff- and barrier-free trade to the future of UK automotive production.

Domestic demand for UK built cars also grew last year, up 3.7% in the year, and the UK remains the second largest car market in Europe, again after Germany. One in seven new cars registered by UK buyers is now made in Britain, up from one in eight three years ago. Meanwhile, British buyers are also increasingly choosing American-manufactured vehicles, with some 39,554 US cars newly registered in 2016 – an uplift of more than a quarter (29.6%) on the previous year and representing 1.5% of the UK new car market.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said

“The tremendous growth in UK production is testament to the global competitiveness of the UK automotive sector. High class engineering, advanced technology and a workforce committed to quality have helped turn around the industry, making the UK among the most productive places in the world to make cars. The global automotive industry is highly integrated and its supply chains increasingly interdependent, so it is vital we maintain open trade links with the US for the benefit of consumers and the industry worldwide.”

*The post 17 year high for British car manufacturing with US demand up nearly 50% – the UK’s single biggest export country appeared first on SMMT.