VW Golf

Assembly Frame

As a rule, weddings generally take place at the registry office. The fact that this major milestone in life also forms part of the production process for cars is something only known to automotive industry insiders. The chassis mechanisation department at Bertrandt in Wolfsburg has made a significant contribution in ensuring that the Golf can get married thousands of times a day at the Wolfsburg plant, as the assembly frame developed by the engineers forms the “marital” basis between the chassis and the car body.

R+D and production join forces at an early stage

The team working for Jens Schlittchen, Manager of the Production Planning Department, and Christian Schirmer, Production Equipment Development Team Leader, started planning the development of the assembly frame for the front-wheel-drive Golf in 2000, and remained involved in the process right through to volume production. The client, the Volkswagen PWP-M2 department, included the team, as an external partner, in the process development before the actual deadline for action. This started with a kick-off meeting in the Volkswagen training centre at Schulenberg near the Okertal dam in Germany’s Harz mountains. The objective was clearly defined: to bring together the Production Department and the R+D team at an early stage, in order to lay the foundations for efficient process planning. Bertrandt Wolfsburg already had extensive experience of simulations and chassis work. As a result, the team was given the task of coordinating the prototype construction and the frame testing.

Frame in several parts for different applications

The challenge in developing the assembly frame was to create a frame in three parts to accommodate the future range of different Golf models. It had to be possible to put the drive train, the gearbox, the exhaust system and the engine in different positions on the frame. As a result, an individual, movable platform was developed for the drive train, which was assembled on a separate production line. The platform was then incorporated into the subsequent progress of the assembly frame. The exhaust system was mounted on a fixed frame and the rear axle on an additional mobile framework.

Prototype construction and volume production

The assembly frame makes positioning the chassis components easier.

A prototype frame was constructed in close cooperation with the Diakonische Werk in Kästorf, in order to ensure that the frame functioned correctly before volume production started. Finally, the complete chassis mechanisation tool was built by Volkswagen in hall 54, with Bertrandt’s support, and made ready for production in only three months, just in time for the start of production. The Bertrandt team was involved both in the production start-up and in the subsequent fine-tuning processes.

Objective: Complete planning process for chassis mechanisation
The team’s successful provision of complete engineering services resulted in it being awarded follow-up contracts for other VW models. The experience that the team acquired in preliminary planning, concept development, draft designs and production support for the assembly frame led to other projects being initiated under the management of the PP-F4 department, which allowed the team to further extend its skills. Consequently, DMU assembly simulations, layout creations, frame construction for prototypes and series production, together with line balancing for chassis mechanisation, can easily be incorporated into existing projects. The objective of the project team is now to handle the complete planning process for chassis mechanisation.