Volkswagen South Africa’s (VWSA’s) new R500 million state-of-the art press shop in Uitenhage, which was installed as part of the R5 billion investment by parent company Volkswagen over the past five years to modernise the local manufacturing plant, has been officially opened.
VWSA board chairman Hubert Waltl said on Friday that the opening of the press shop marked the culmination of its investment to enhance VWSA’s position as a key manufacturing plant within the group’s production network.
Waltl said the opening of the press shop reiterated the group’s commitment to VWSA and South Africa.
The investment in South Africa by Volkswagen over the past five years has made the Uitenhage plant one of the most environmentally responsible and energy efficient plants in the southern hemisphere.
It is the first manufacturing plant in the world to install a press line combining wave motion technology with Cobra robotics technology.
The continuous wave technology allows presses to cycle in a wave pattern unlike the conventional press lines in which presses cycle together.
The Cobra robots get their name from the striking movement of the cobra, with the robot moving parts through the press process much faster than conventional systems, leading to a 30 percent reduction in energy consumption.
Waltl said the Uitenhage press shop was the group’s newest and most environmentally friendly press shop.
“Last year, we launched the Think.Blue factory strategy within all Volkswagen plants, including Uitenhage. The new strategy will ensure that all our factories reduce their waste, water, energy and emissions by 25 percent by 2018 from the 2010 levels.”
Waltl said the press shop was built using “green” technology and designed to use natural light, with intelligent lighting systems. Rainwater harvesting tanks had been installed, with recycled materials also used during construction, he said.
The new press shop is in the ramp-up phase and will be fully operational in July.