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No doubt about it, the world of tool and mould construction is being transformed

“We have fully embraced Industry 4.0” - Audi Tool Construction works together with machinery manufacturers on digitisation

No doubt about it, the world of tool and mould construction is being transformed. The high-tech state of the art in Audi’s tool construction operation already includes intelligent tools, with which the Ingolstadt-based automaker can translate ultra-stringent design requirements into a dependable process. Innovations of this kind, however, will succeed only if the staff concerned are continually prepared to undergo advanced training. What staff will have to cope with in the future, what role will be played by collaboration with machinery manufacturers, and why new sources of information like the Moulding Area at the METAV 2016 are gaining steadily in perceived importance, these questions are addressed in the following interview by Michael Breme, who heads Audi’s tool construction operation in Ingolstadt.

What requirements are automakers currently stipulating for tool construction work?

Michael Breme: The ongoing challenges for tool construction are internationalisation, derivatisation, flexibilisation and process reliability. The number of derivatives is rising, which entails in its turn a closer phasing of product launches at different production facilities worldwide. This means the actual lead times from order placement to completion of the equipment have been steadily reduced in recent years, and will continue to be. At the same time, the complexity of conventional tools and bodywork production lines has increased, since additional derivatives and models are being manufactured on more flexible equipment.


With lightweight construction, the stipulations for design become more exacting

In bodywork manufacturing, the proportion of lightweight components is rising, with concomitantly more stringent stipulations for design work, since the geometries involved are becoming progressively more complex. This demands from us in the field of tool construction new approaches for maximised process reliability while at the same time assuring technical availability. New materials are being used in bodywork construction, such as CFRP, sandwich or magnesium sheets, aluminium pressure die-casting and hot-forming.


What does this mean for Audi’s tool construction operations?

Michael Breme: With our equipment portfolio, we’re taking these material-related developments on board, and autonomously design-enhancing our concepts and processes. In Audi Tool Construction, moreover, we run a small-series production operation, and supply the Volkswagen Group with bodywork components and assemblies for high-performance automobiles. Here, tool construction is likewise facing the challenge of cost-efficiently mastering the increasing number of assemblies against a background of maximised customer expectations.

What new technologies are you using to meet and master these challenges?

Michael Breme: We’ve been using the intelligent tool since 2011, for example, for large series production, not least for the Audi A8, Audi A3, Audi TT, Audi Q7 models and the new Audi A4. This means we can handle ultra-sophisticated design requirements in a reliable process. Tool design work takes due account of the static and dynamic loads encountered in the forming operation. Audi Tool Construction is doing intensive work on simulating the entire process chain – from the component to the finished body in white. There’s a lot of potential here, since in future we aim to do without any back-up tools.

What do things look like with the much-hyped issue of Industry 4.0?
Michael Breme: We have fully embraced Industry 4.0 or (as we call it at Audi) the “smart factory”: for years now, to cite just one example, remote maintenance of our bodywork production lines has been performed as standard practice, as has remote maintenance of the intelligent tools. Industry 4.0 technologies are meanwhile also being used where we are design-enhancing our shop-floor production processes. Assistance systems, for example, are supporting our staff with real-time data from the production line for planning project sequences. These digital assistants function as a kind of navigation systemfor route planning in providing scheduling proposals for complex planning operations with competing planning goals. This involves issues like deadline compliance or high machine capacity utilisation. Automation is being progressed as well: in 2015, we commissioned an automatic robot drilling line, and expanded the deployment of driverless transport systems for logistical purposes.


Control data feedback

Audi Tool Construction has already pioneered the thrust towards the intelligent tool: how have you digitised your tool construction operation, and what are you planning for the future?

Michael Breme: With control data feedback from the intelligent tools, for example: crucial information on the quality of the tool and of the process is supplied by the control activities of the sensors in the intelligent tool. This means good PCB batches can be distinguished from less good ones, for instance, which enables countermeasures to be initiated at an early stage. No less deserving of mention is system integration into the quality recording systems of the production operation: we have recently introduced software tools for this purpose, which are being continually expanded. These quality tools enable us to transparently image at any time the quality status of a particular vehicle project. They serve as a link between tasks entailed by quality processes and project and capacity planning at Tool Construction.

An important role is also played by global decentralised measured-data acquisition and virtual quality analysis: components, tools and automobiles can be qualitatively assessed within a few hours in our new robot-based duplex measuring cell. What’s more, data and empirical insights can now be fed back during a tool’s lifetime, because the pressing plant has since May 2015 been integrated into Audi Tool Construction.


How do you support machine tool manufacturers in terms of digitisation?

Michael Breme: When new investments are involved, there is close cooperation between the machinery manufacturers and Audi Tool Construction. To cite two current examples: the interface definitions for linking the intelligent tools to the press control system, and joint definition of acceptance test criteria.

But what does an automaker with an in-house tool construction capability think of the Moulding Area and the new concept of the METAV in Düsseldorf? Will representatives of Audi be visiting it in February 2016?

Michael Breme: Continual skilling of our staff is a vital constituent of our corporate success. You can’t manufacture high-tech products unless you’ve sustainedly embraced the latest state of the art and are keenly interested in innovations and technical advances. We make a point of utilising all available sources of information. We shall definitely be attending the METAV.

Thank you very much for talking to us.

The interview was conducted by Nikolaus Fecht, specialist journalist from Gelsenkirchen



Audi AG, Ingolstadt
The company maintains a presence in more than 100 markets all over the globe, and currently operates twelve production facilities worldwide. Audi Tool Construction plays an important role here: it covers the entire chain of sheet-metal-part manufacture, and is thus substantially responsible for the high quality of the bodywork. In addition, Audi Tool Construction also supplies other brands of the Volkswagen Group with forming tools and bodywork production lines. More than 2,000 people work for Audi Tool Construction at the facilities in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Barcelona (Spain), Györ (Hungary) and Beijing (China). Consolidated sales (2014): 53.8 billion euros; worldwide more than 80,000 employees.
Further information:www.audi.de


METAV 2016 in Düsseldorf
The METAV 2016 – the 19th International Exhibition for Metalworking Technologies – will be held in Düsseldorf from 23 to 27 February. It showcases the entire spectrum of production technology. The principal focuses are machine tools, production systems, high-precision tools, automated material flows, computer technology, industrial electronics, and accessories, complemented by the new themes of Moulding, Medical, Additive Manufacturing and Quality, which are now permanently anchored in what are called “areas” with heir own nomenclature in the METAV’s exhibition programme. The METAV’s target group for visitors includes all branches of industry that work metal, particularly machinery and plant manufacturers, the automotive industry and its component suppliers, aerospace, the electrical engineering industry, energy and medical technologies, tool and mould-making, plus metalworking and the craft sector.
Further information: www.metav.de



Moulding Area at the METAV 2016
Moulding, together with tool and mould construction, is one of the most demanding application categories in the field of metalworking. High-precision machine tools produce moulds and tools of maximised quality because modern-day customers and consumers expect surfaces with an upmarket design, particularly in the case of plastic products. Besides conventional processes, progressively more numerous new process technologies are being adopted, such as laser-aided manufacturing for finely structured designer surfaces. The Moulding Area is themed around the specific requirements involved, and how they can be met by means of innovative production technology. The partners of the METAV’s organiser VDW are the Tool Manufacturing Department, a specialist group in the German Engineering Federation’s High-Precision Tools Association, the German Industrial Designers’ Association (VDID), the Hanser Verlag publishers and the German-language trade periodical Form + Werkzeug (Moulds and Tools).


Your contact persons
VDMA Werkzeugbau
Alfred Graf Zedtwitz
Lyoner Strasse 18
60528 Frankfurt am Main
Tel. +49 69 6603-1269


VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association)
Sylke Becker
Press and Public Relations
Corneliusstrasse 4
60325 Frankfurt am Main
Tel. +49 69 756081-33


Audi AG
Kathrin Feigl
Press Spokesperson Production
85045 Ingolstadt
Tel. +49 841 89-45751


Press Agency Dipl.-Ing. Nikolaus Fecht
Technical texts à la carte – when words fail you
Nikolaus Fecht
Husemannstrasse 29
45879 Gelsenkirchen>
Tel. +49 209 26575


You will find texts and pictures on the internet under www.metav.de in Press Service.
You can also visit the METAV through our social media channels:


Responsible for the content of this press release: Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken e.V.


Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken e.V.
Corneliusstraße 4
60325 Frankfurt am Main
+49 69 756081-33
+49 69 756081-11

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