Major robotics move at VWSA

FUTURE LINE: More than 300 new robots are to be installed at VWSA’s Uitenhage plant
FUTURE LINE: More than 300 new robots are to be installed at VWSA’s Uitenhage plant

But there will be no job losses, executives in Uitenhage say

Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) is installing hundreds of robots into its bodyshop in an upgrade of its production facilities in Uitenhage as it prepares for the production of the new Polo and other models.

The manufacturer is installing a total of 320 robots as part of a new production line that will provide increased model flexibility.

While still in its early stages, the robot installation represents a new phase in the company’s previously announced R4.5-billion upgrade programme.

The investment will culminate in the production of the next-generation Polo model.

While no details are available yet, the new facility is also expected to produce other Volkswagen vehicles.

Work is expected to be completed at the end of next year.

VWSA chairman and managing director Thomas Schaefer said this week that the 320 Kuka robots would perform monotonous, high-precision work, allowing employees to focus on tasks which required human involvement.

“The introduction of the robots will improve the ergonomics in the bodyshop as they reduce strain on our people. The introduction of the specialised robots paves the way for higher volumes and even better quality,” Schaefer said.

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