Resource efficiency – reduce and avoid
Wherever possible, Audi reduces packaging waste at its sites, uses environmentally friendly packaging solutions, and systematically separates recyclable materials so that they can be recycled.
The Mission:Zero “Resource” team in Neckarsulm has declared war on plastic waste and is developing innovative recycling ideas of its own. For example, Audi has plastic film waste first processed into granulate by a manufacturer in the region and then into trash bags that are used at the site. The cycle allows around 15 metric tons of plastic waste to be sensibly reused each year. A positive side effect is that the site is saving a good 40 percent of what it spends on trash bags thanks to this recycling program. Logistics at Audi has worked with suppliers to optimize several component packages. This has already enabled Audi to eliminate almost 31 tons of non-recyclable packaging at the Neckarsulm site alone. These optimizations range from replacing materials with a high environmental impact, such as Styrofoam, to completely eliminating packaging altogether.
An innovative pilot project launched in 2019 will also shred plastic packaging waste from assembly and turn it into 3D printer filament. 3D printers will then be used to create ergonomic assembly aids, such as protective caps or pressing aids, for employees.
New virtual planning methods marry digitization and sustainability. For example, Audi was able to virtually design part of the special containers used to transport sensitive components for the Audi e-tron GT for the first time. This VR application, which was piloted at the Neckarsulm site, is now in use throughout the group and helps to conserve resources previously used for container prototypes. In addition, the all-electric Gran Turismo is the first vehicle from the brand with the four rings to be manufactured entirely without prototypes. This was made possible by three-dimensional building scans, machine learning processes, and the use of virtual reality, among other things. All of the assembly processes were tested entirely virtually for the very first time – and are now being successfully applied during the manufacture of Audi’s production models. This saved physical prototypes and, in the meantime, also business trips, because the virtual methods are now also used across locations and – not only in the era of the coronavirus pandemic – allow employees to work digitally and collaboratively in a virtual space.