Open Innovation Challenge by Group Digitalisation and Research
As one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world, Volkswagen is constantly working on the development of new manufacturing methods and processes. Joining the car body is a step in the production process in which different materials are connected using a wide variety of methods. Each joining process requires its own system, which in addition to high investment costs, also creates a space problem. For example, 11 different joining methods are used in the body manufacturing of an Audi Q7.
Volkswagen launched an Open Innovation challenge to find new and innovative concepts for a car body with reduced joining complexity which could be mass-produced. The questions were: What could such a body look like? Which joining methods can be used? How can classic joining processes be reduced?
The evaluation was made factoring in:
- Lightweight construction: The new body should meet the current lightweight construction requirements of the automotive industry
- Large series production: The process should be able to be used in large series production
Interested parties from all over the world had six weeks to submit their ideas. At the end of January 2018, selected participants were invited to pitch their ideas for the future of car body manufacturing in Wolfsburg. The best three ideas were selected by a jury of independent experts and specialists and the winners were awarded 6,500 Euro in prize money. Concepts that were particularly promising were subsequently checked for implementation in the Volkswagen Group's manufacturing processes.