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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all,
I've been lurking here for a while, soaking up all the great information and hoping to join the club before too long, by putting a Cayman S in my garage sometime soon. I thought my impending factory tour would be a good occasion to make my first post :D
So yes, I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to tour the Porsche factory in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen this coming Thursday April 8th. I've been working here in Stuttgart for the past 5 weeks, but this is the first chance I've had to break away from work during the day in order to attend the factory tour (it's only offered at 10:00 AM, Mon - Thur). In the meantime, I've taken advantage of visiting the Porsche museum twice.
So I've made all the arrangements with Christian Hoenniger, and I'm anxiously awaiting the tour of the factory.
As I mentioned earlier, I am interested in the Cayman S, but I believe those are actually built in Finland and not here in Stuttgart. None the less, that doesn't deter my interest in seeing first hand just how Porsche's are built.
I'd be interested to know if anyone has any advice, recommendations, or things to be on the lookout for during the tour.
Cheers.
- SCR
 

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You will have a great time on the tour. I went on the factory tour in 2005 and it was quite interesting. Others can confirm but I believe that all the engines are built and tested in Stuttgart, then shipped to the respective factories for final vehicle assembly so at least some of your Cayman was built in Stuttgart. Wikipedia says that some Boxsters and Caymans are built in Stuttgart, with the majority of production in Finland. This allows the factory to compare build quality and the build quality in Uusikaupunki, Finland is considered to be excellent. Have a blast.

:)
 

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The tour is great. Was just there in January. Attended a two-day Porsche Consulting seminar and part of the seminar was a fairly thorough factory tour. Not sure if our tour was any different than a regular public tour.

There are no Caymans made there. Engines for the Cayman? Yep, think so.

The line in Zuffenhausen has all 911 models and some Boxters (including the Spyder) on it. In January, their daily production was 160 cars a day. It is great to see the handmade nature of Porsche cars.

There are indeed, as Laseng said, basically only one robot. There are a bunch of little "robots" that deliver parts, but one of the only real robots on the line installs the windshield on the cars.

The plant is old, and in order to expand, they've had to build up - not out. Interesting to watch the cars go up and down the elevators.

Since you are in Germany, you also should go see the plant in Leipzig where they made the Panamera and the Cayenne. It is a new plant and is open, spacious, and much "lighter" then the Zuffenhausen plant. And, the test track in Leipzig is right next to the plant.

Enjoy the tour!!!!
 

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There was a video some tv show did about the porsche factory. It was really neat to see all the tech that goes in to running the factory (not just the cars). I think that was the factory that had magnets in the floor that would guide these flat carts to deliver parts to different places (no driver needed). You should search for that video.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've always wanted to do the tour, but have only been able to get there on the weekends. Please take pics (if they let you) and share them here.
Unfortunately the advance information I received from Christian states that photos may not be taken in the factory. I'm still going to bring my camera and hope to at the least take some photos of the exterior and entrance to the factory.
 

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I was lucky enough to do three European deliveries at Porsche - 83, 84, 85. It was a great time. In those years you could take all the photos you wanted. I had photos of everything from the engine assembly line to the drive train going into the 911. I hope to make it again and see the new facilities.

Enjoy
 

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I've done 2 factory tours, 1984 & again a few years ago. Always changes. Now you'll know why P cars "an't cheap" .
Be sure to visit the the new museum while yoiu're in Stuttgart. Give it the best part of a day. Try to get there when they open at 0900. The gift shop will blow you away!
 

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The tour is great. Was just there in January. Attended a two-day Porsche Consulting seminar and part of the seminar was a fairly thorough factory tour. Not sure if our tour was any different than a regular public tour.

There are no Caymans made there. Engines for the Cayman? Yep, think so.

The line in Zuffenhausen has all 911 models and some Boxters (including the Spyder) on it. In January, their daily production was 160 cars a day. It is great to see the handmade nature of Porsche cars.

There are indeed, as Laseng said, basically only one robot. There are a bunch of little "robots" that deliver parts, but one of the only real robots on the line installs the windshield on the cars.

The plant is old, and in order to expand, they've had to build up - not out. Interesting to watch the cars go up and down the elevators.

Since you are in Germany, you also should go see the plant in Leipzig where they made the Panamera and the Cayenne. It is a new plant and is open, spacious, and much "lighter" then the Zuffenhausen plant. And, the test track in Leipzig is right next to the plant.

Enjoy the tour!!!!
If you want to tour the plant in Leipzig, be sure to go to the web site and make a reservation. My job takes me in and out of Leipzig, occasionally.. I tried "walking up" one day. There was a three month waiting list, as of last November. Couldn't get a tour, only a walk thru the gift shop. Very nice looking facility;however, from the outside looking in. No sympathy for a new Porsche owner, either :(
 

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I did the tour about two and a half years ago. It was awsome, one of the best things is as we were going up to the second floor we looked out the window and there sitting in the parking lot was the new GT3 RS. As you're walking around there all kinds of little surprisies just keep your eyes open.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here's my detailed feedback from the factory tour last Thursday April 8, 2010 (sorry it's so lengthy; I added a fair amount of detail for those that are interested).

The tour was excellent, lasting about 2 hours (and the time flew by).
There were 3 different tour groups the day I attended: an English tour, a German tour and a "special guest" tour, with about 10 people in each group. We assembled at the Porsche museum at 10:00 am and were reminded that photography was strictly prohibited and that we would be under watch of the security folks at all times. No cell phones, no cameras, don't show any indication that you might be photographing something. They said they had a nice long tour in store for us and they hoped everyone would be able to enjoy it to its conclusion. Ok, I got the message. I put my camera away in my camera bag but did pull it out at the end for a few exterior shots after we had exited the factory compounds.
We were all given special security badges to wear, and told to keep them visible at all times. Then we walked across the street and passed through the security checkpoint to enter the factory grounds.
I would say we walked through most of the buildings on the compound, and pretty much saw all the different stages of the cars being manufactured. There is definitely a lot of skilled labor that goes into making these cars. Here are the main areas that we toured:
- The "shopping mall": where the worker brings a shopping list that has been generated for each car and picks up all of the individual parts out of a myriad of bins. The parts are placed on special mobilized carts that will travel along with the car throughout the entire build process. After all of the parts have been gathered onto the carts, a computer verifies that nothing was omitted.
- Engine shop: where the engines are assembled as they move through many different worker and test stations on a conveyor belt system that wound up one side of the shop and back down the other. The engines are put through both "cold" and "hot" tests. I believe all porsche engines are built in Zuffenhausen and then some are shipped to the Leipzeig or Finland plants. I think they said they build up to 160 engines per day.
- Leather shop: where raw hides are scanned and mapped for defects, then the usable portions are cut into the required patterns using high pressure water jets. Each hide was roughly 6’ x 4’ and it takes something like 8 hides to make a typical 911.
- Paint shop: we didn't really get to see inside the paint shop. We saw the painted cars coming out of the paint shop and then manipulated onto the conveyor system that would move them through the rest of the assembly. Incidentally, the conveyor system moves the cars up and down between different floors as well as routing it around through the different assembly areas on one floor.
- Body and interior assembly: here workers worked on the dash, wire assemblies and interior of the cars. At each station, the workers had 5 minutes and 30 seconds to complete their task before the car moved on to the next station. I noticed some were done in 2 minutes or less and then got to rest for the remainder of the interval.
- Windscreen installation: this station used one of the few robots in the assembly process to pick up the windscreen, apply the glue/sealant and the affix it to the car.
- Marriage of the car body to the chassis: This is where they lower the body onto the chassis and it now becomes a car. They use guide rods attached to the car body to help with the alignment process as the body is lowered, and then the rods are removed after the "marriage" is made.
- Wheel and tire assembly (one of the final stages): Similar to your typical tire shop. The wheels and tires come in on carts and then the tires are mounted on the wheels and bolted onto the cars. Shortly after this stage the cars are driven off the end of the assembly line.

A couple of other notes: Throughout the build process there are multiple built-in test stations where quality, electronics and other miscellaneous tests are performed on the car. If a car fails a test, or becomes a reject, it has to be left on the assembly line throughout the rest of the build process because removing it is too difficult to do logistically (it would wreak havoc on the synchronicity and sequencing of all of the other phases of the build process – causing one persons order to align with someone else’s car body or engine)
Porsche seems to have a pretty good work philosophy/ethic: The workers get a 5 minute break every hour in addition to the free time they have after completing their tasking before the car moves on to the next step on the assembly line. They work in small teams, and each team works in one area of the build process for a set period of time (days/weeks?) and then rotates to a different area, to help alleviate boredom and broaden the workers skill set.

I hope that gives you a better feel for what goes on in the Porsche factory, and what you will see if you go on the tour.
-SCR
 

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socalrick does a pretty good job of describing the tour. i took my wife and two kids on a tour of the plant a couple of summers ago. the "girls" didn't think it would me much fun at all but my son and i were castled out and we needed some man-time. funny thing, all of us really enjoyed ourselves. my wife commented on how amazing the whole process was. i used to work at the general motors factory in oshawa, ontario when i was a student many moons ago. this porsche plant is nothing like that. this is more of a "boutique" production facility. a really neat visit if you get the chance. we lined it up with only 4 weeks or so notice which i was told was amazing. usually the wait is quite long. if they know you're a porsche owner i think that it helps. sorry that the new museum wasn't ready when we were there. the old one was rather small. so we also went to the mercedes museum there. [ given that we have both we had to see them both!! ] the benz place was awesome. some day i hope to take in the new porsche museum....and maybe a tour of the mercedes plant.
 
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