Another world-first from Stuttgart.
The Porsche Taycan is the German automaker's first-ever purely battery-electric model (and definitely not its last) that utilizes a number of other new technologies. One of them involves the exterior paint. At first, this may sound kind of mundane but the reality is that a vehicle's paint and how it's applied is critical to immediate and long-term quality.
Painting the body of a new Taycan on the assembly line at the Zuffenhausen factory previously required workers to move a 15.5-pound tool with only their thumbs 3,600 times per working day. It sounds strenuous because it is, but Porsche has adopted a new system that eliminates that strain and improves quality by using patches to seal holes in the car's body instead of plugs.
These holes are invisible to the naked eye but are there on purpose so that an anticorrosive coating can fill them when applied in the paint shop. Once this is done, these holes must be sealed so that they're watertight. If not, rust pockets will form. Not only is the Taycan the first Porsche to use this new patching method, but it's the first car in the world to do so.
A total of 106 out of 143 holes in the Taycan's body are now sealed with patches in a very quick and automatic process. As previously noted, line workers do not have to push up to 3,600 plugs into the body's holes per shift.
This new process is less complex, faster, and produces a higher quality product. The robot that performs the job kind of looks like a barcode scanner tool. It takes only three minutes to do the entire job. A human requires more than seven minutes.
"The key feature of the solution is not just the sealing patch itself," says Dirk Paffe, Head of Planning for Paint Shop Process at Porsche, "but the automation of the process. We can apply the sealing patches in large quantities and at high speed with absolute precision using a robot."
Does this mean robots will soon take over all human assembly line jobs at Porsche? Not at all, but it does make workers' lives much easier and ensures a better quality vehicle.