The goal of the partnership is to promote industrialization of fiber-reinforced materials, particularly through developing a highly automated process chain for high-volume automotive production. The development partnership is intended to further strengthen Germany’s position as a place for innovation.
The planned long-term and exclusive partnership between Audi and Voith is to focus on the further development and highly automated production of fiber-reinforced materials for use in future automotive projects. This is intended to use the high potential of this innovative material to benefit lightweight construction and efficiency. With a focus on implementation in volume production, Audi and Voith are looking to apply themselves to developing new, innovative high-tech materials, in addition to industrialization and process engineering for conventional fiber-reinforced polymers. One approach involves environmentally-compatible fiber composite materials that offer ideal properties for use in the automotive industry as a complement to existing materials, with respect to both total energy balance and process engineering.
“Fiber-reinforced polymers offer weight and strength advantages, which we have already put to use in the Audi R8 and the Audi RS 3 Sportback, for instance. We want to use these advantages for high-volume production as well, and therefore the focus of our partnership with Voith is on specific car projects,” said Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG.
“We are concentrating on the manufacturing and recyclability of fiber-reinforced materials in the interest of a sustainable material cycle. After all, part of our corporate responsibility is to face the challenge of harmonizing economic and environmental interests as we move toward using fiber-reinforced polymers in high-volume production. With Audi and Voith, the right partners have come together to handle these challenges.”
For several years now, Voith GmbH has been intensively involved with the use of CFRP (carbon fiber-reinforced polymer) in industrial plant design, such as in lightweight construction components in paper machines or in drive engineering. With the help of the development partnership being announced today, the Company will now be able to apply its technological know-how to the automotive sector as well. Voith sees major potential for growth in the use of fiber-reinforced polymers in high-volume production, especially in this market. “For Voith, technologies for the use of fiber-composite materials in industrial production are a key strategic competence. Given the ever-greater requirements for efficiency, coupled with the need to protect the environment and conserve resources, we are certain that this competence will be demanded by more and more markets in the future,” said Dr. Hubert Lienhard, CEO of Voith GmbH. In Audi, Voith has found an attractive partner that already possesses solid experience in lightweight construction and that has successfully introduced new materials into high-volume production.
Lightweight construction is one of the core competences of AUDI AG. The Ingolstadt-based premium carmaker relies on intelligent composite design. Materials like aluminum, steel and magnesium, as well as fiber-reinforced materials like CFRP, are used where they bring the most benefits in terms of lightweight construction. Audi has many years of experience in the use of fiber-reinforced polymers. The Company promotes their development for wider use in automotive production at its Neckarsulm site in Germany in a technical research unit for fiber-reinforced polymers that is connected to the Lightweight Design Center. Fiber-composite polymers will continue to gain importance in the material mix within the structure of the automobile. One focus of the partnership with Voith will therefore be to utilize the great potential of fiber-reinforced materials for innovative automotive architecture.
The Audi Group sold around 1,092, 400 cars of the Audi brand in 2010. The Company posted revenue of €29.8 billion and an operating profit of €1.6 billion in 2009. Audi produces vehicles in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm (Germany), Gyor (Hungary), Changchun (China) and Brussels (Belgium). Aurangabad in India saw the start of CKD production of the Audi A6 at the end of 2007, of the Audi A4 in early October 2008 and of the Audi Q5 in July 2010. Production of the new Audi A1 has been running at the Brussels plant since May 2010. The Company is active in more than 100 markets worldwide. AUDI AG’s wholly owned subsidiaries include AUDI HUNGARIA MOTOR Kft., Automobili Lamborghini Holding S.p.A. in Sant’Agata Bolognese (Italy) and quattro GmbH in Neckarsulm. Audi currently employs around 60,000 people worldwide, including around 46,600 in Germany. Between 2011 and 2015 the brand with the four rings is planning to invest around €11.6 billion, mainly in new products, in order to sustain the Company’s technological lead embodied in its “Vorsprung durch Technik” slogan. By 2015, Audi plans to increase the number of models in its portfolio to 42. AUDI AG will present the full results for the 2010 fiscal year at its Annual Press Conference on March 8, 2011.
Audi has long been fulfilling its social responsibility on many levels – with the aim of making the future worth living for generations to come. The basis for Audi’s lasting success is therefore formed by environmental protection, the conservation of resources, international competitiveness and a forward-looking human resources policy. One example of AUDI AG’s commitment to environmental issues is the newly established Audi Environmental Foundation.
Voith (voith.com) sets the benchmark in the markets for energy, oil and gas, for paper, for raw materials, and in the transport and automotive markets. Voith, founded in 1867, today has nearly 40,000 employees, 5.2 billion euros in sales, and locations in about 50 countries in all regions of the world. It is one of Europe’s largest family-owned companies.
The corporate group continued the growth of the previous years in fiscal 2010 (ended September 30). The family-owned company grew throughout the entire economic crisis without suffering a slump in its sales or operating profit.