History of Porsche
Porsche was born on September 3, 1875 in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, in the Maffersdorf region that belonged to Czechoslovakia at that time. He always claimed himself to be Austrian. His first met with modern technology happened as a young tinplate worker at the Maffersdorf carpet factory. After his release, he went to Vienna, to Egger Béla’s electric plant. In addition to his daily work in the capital, he completed the courses of the Imperial and Royal Polytechnic. Soon he was employed in the Egger factory’s test room where he could participate in the construction work. He also worked in Hungary: he worked at the Hungarian Wagon and Machine Factory car class.
In 1897, he came to Ludwig Lohner’s car carrier company, and shortly thereafter, an electric car designed by the owner and Porsche was introduced at the 1900 World Expo in Paris. After Lohner sold his patents to Austro-Daimler, Porsche followed his designs and received a technical manager position at the company. From 1905 to 1923, he worked at Daimler’s factory in Austria, where he developed cars and excellent racing cars named ‘Maja’.
In 1923, he traveled to Stuttgart and planned several Mercedes-type wagons at Daimler’s construction office. In 1924, the Vienna Technical College awarded him an honorary title for his military engineering work. For creating his Mercedes sports cars he was elected to honorary professor at the Technical College of Stuttgart.
In 1926, Benz and Daimler merged with which Porsche disagreed and returned to Austria. At Steyr, he created a car called Steyr Austria, which was also exhibited in Paris. In 1929 he left the factory, then in 1931 he opened an independent design office in Stuttgart, where he constructed a number of racing cars and then a naval craft. But his dream was to produce a tough, but unpretentious and, above all, cheap folk car. In 1931, he had prepared that on the design table – together with his son Ferry. Emphasizing the date is important because many of the VW folk car’s ideas and plans were attributed to Hitler.
However, Hitler only gave orders to Porsche in 1933, who had previously tried to implement plans for Zündapp and then for NSU. At NSU, three carriages carrying the “Beetle” shape were also made. Only minor modifications had to be made to meet the imperial Chancellor’s requirements: at least 100 kilometers of cruising speed per hour, four to five seats, air-cooled engine and the maximum price had to be under one thousand DM (the currency of that time).
In 1936, three Volkswagen cars were produced, and at the Daimler-Benz plants the test station was completed. On May 26, 1938, the foundations of a new factory -but also of a new city- were laid in Wolfsburg. The construction started with a huge boost but soon stopped: in 1939 the war began, and in 1941 all civilian construction was stopped. Up to the conversion to warfare production, a total of 210 wagons were produced.
The history of Porsche’s production
“United Iron and Steel Works”, so called Ferry Porsche and about 200 employees of him the former sawmill factory in Gmünd (Carinthia), where the firm named Dr. Ing. H. C. F. Porsche KG was relocated from Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen.
The first Porsche model (the ‘No.1’) 356 completed here in 1948. Porsche made 52 pieces of 356’s in Gmünd. In the summer of 1949, a dozen Porsche employees began to return the production to Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, to Reutter. In Zuffenhausen, the success story of Porsche continued.
At the beginning of 1950, the Porsche 356 series production started. By the end of the year, 400 cars were produced. Porsche’s production has been continuously expanded.
The introduction of the Porsche 911 in 1963 was a milestone in the development of Porsche.
In May 1969, a new multi-level installation plant in Schwieberdinger Street significantly expanded the area of the plant. This was further expanded in 1988 by building a bodywork plant that facing the assembly hall.
There have been significant changes in manufacturing technology over the past 50 years, too. In the meantime, the man-made series production was replaced by a modern and flexible factory. The German magazine “Produktion” and the management consultancy company A. T. Kearney, awarded the Zuffenhausen factory the “Factory of the Year 1996” prize as a recognition of their hard work and dedication.
During World War II Ferry Porsche moved from Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen to Gmünd, Carinthia, in 1947. With his trusted staff he began to build a sports car that, in his own words, would have been likeable also by himself. The starting point was the Volkswagen Beetle developed by his father. In Gmünd, a total of 52 pieces of the 356 model were made (excluding number 1), all the others came after 1950 from Zuffenhausen. Initially, Porsche’s design and administration departments were placed in two wooden houses under Schwieberdinger Street 147. Bodywork production and car assembly were carried out in the Reutter bodybuilding building across the street. The original plant parts of Porsche, the former I factory, were seized by the Americans after the war and could not be reused until 1956.
Another milestone for Porsche was the construction of a new building for the purpose of assembling engines and cars in 1953. In 1964, shortly after the Porsche 911 was introduced, Porsche took over the Reutter factory buildings along with bodywork. The next important step was the completion of the three-storey assembly hall (building 41) in 1969, which allowed the production capacity to be increased. In 1982, the automated warehousing was started. With the completion of the new paint shop in 1986 and the bodywork in 1988, the current building structure was completed.
The body of the Porsche 356 was manually manufactured at the Reutter bodywork. The car body cover itself was attached to the chassis frame welded to several parts. The joints were filled with soft foam (which was a very tedious and time-consuming process) and then sanded. In 1965, the production of the Porsche 356 finished. At the end, they were already making 25 body-pieces a day.
In 1964, with the introduction of the Porsche 911, Porsche broke up with the production methods of the past. From then on the different structural units are assembled in advance and then they are made by welding or screwing the body.
In 1973, Porsche was the first in automotive industry to weld galvanized sheet metal to the bodywork. This was a milestone for car corrosion protection.
The first robot put into operation at Porsche was a welding robot, which worked on the rear axel of the 911 model. 1988 opened a new era for bodybuilding. The newly built bodywork was inaugurated, with 15 robots being used at the start. In July 1989, the last 911 bodywork left the old Reutter building.
With the launch of the latest car generation, the level of automation has increased considerably, while flexibility remains unchanged. The production is done in a model-mix system, so the Boxster and the 911 models can be manufactured in any order.
The polishing of Porsche cars required high levels of professional knowledge and enormous experience from the beginning due to the curvature of the bodywork. In parallel with the increase in production, new workshops were needed in time, resulting in a new building erected in 1969, which became the paint shop which is the 40th building. In 1975, Porsche as the first in the world made the entire bodywork of hot-dip galvanized steel, which significantly improved its corrosion protection. From 1980 on, the Porsche 928 began to paint aluminum parts (front lattice, fender and doors).
In February 1986, the new bodywork workshop (Building 40A) started to work, with the introduction of the cathodic immersion undercoating process (KTL) which started working with full capacity from July 1986. The old paint shop was used to paint plastic accessories until 1992.
The new paintwork has resulted in improvements in several areas:
– Improvement of corrosion protection thanks to the cathodic process.
– The limitation of solvent emissions is due to the air cleaner system.
– Use of robots for chassis protection tasks.
– Increase the possible number of bodywork production to 140 per day.
– Heat recovery thanks to the cross-flow heat exchanger.
Between 1993 and 1995, the level of automation continued to increase. Robots used for sealing work contributed to increasing efficiency and humanizing workplaces. In particular, the importance of environmental protection has increased. Since 1992, Porsche has moved to use water-based paints. Since 1997, the used filler is also water-based.
In 1995, Porsche introduced the continuous monitoring of solvent emissions and concluded a public contract with Stuttgart to regulate the long-term limits of emissions and noise levels.
Engine production was started in 1948 in Gmünd (Carinthia) with a four-cylinder box engine for the Porsche 356, an advanced VW engine. Shortly after the Porsche company returned to Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen in 1950, engine production moved to a separate building (II. factory unit) built for this purpose in 1953.
In 1963, with the introduction of the Porsche 911, the first six-cylinder, carburettor box engine was started. It was the first engine in the history of Porsche that was assembled on an assembly line. With the extension of the product range (1974: Porsche Turbo, 1977: Porsche 928, 1978: Porsche 924 Turbo, etc.) a parallel mounting line was required. Technical innovations, such as compressed air and electric screwdrivers, have gradually contributed to the improvement of manufacturing processes.
The increase in demand for the Porsche 924 S / 944 models in 1985 brought about a significant increase in production volume. Starting from that time, apart from short interruptions, the assembly of motors taking place in two shifts.
1993 was another milestone. With the launch of the basically revised model 911 (development number: 993), the engine production was moved to a continuously moving assembly line.
Testing of the engine on a test bench (hot or cold test) has remained the same characteristic of engine production over the years. All Porsche engines so far have undergone this reliable process.
The upholstery works originally in the immediate vicinity of the bodywork of Reutter. The Porsche 356 front and rear seats, the folding downholstery, and the interior upholstery have been designed here. With the end of Porsche 356 production, the production of seats was handed over to Recaro. After that, the Porsche 911 has been manufactured exclusively in the form of a coupe. The production of folding canopies was also discontinued. In 1969, the upholstered compartment was transferred to the newly assembled assembly plant. Since then, the increasing use of leather has been observed in upholstery, and this tendency continues today.
The expansion of the automobile production capacity required the relocation of the upholstery workshop to the previously used building of motors. After 1982, all the upholstery areas were put together and placed in a tall warehouse.
They have begun to manufacture folding canopies for the 911 Cabriolet and Targa models. However, this was transmitted to the DaimlerChrysler subsidiary partly in 1996 when Porsche Boxster was introduced, then in 1997 completely, when the new Porsche 911 arrived.
Despite numerous technical innovations, such as the automatic sewing machine from the end of the 1980s or the application of adhesive by spraying, the upholstery area is still characterized by craftwork. This is well reflected in the number of employees, which increased from 60 to 250 from the middle of the 1950s to the present time.
In the 1950s, the body of the Porsche 356 was assembled and painted in the Reutter factory and then handed over with windows and interior. After that, Porsche completed the installation of the engine and the chassis. In 1964, Porsche purchased the Reutter bodywork. With this, Porsche was the first to own a complete, independent car factory.
In 1969, the car assembly moved to the newly built multi-storey building on Schwieberdinger Street. At that time, the interior fittings were installed on the second floor while the engine was installed and the chassis mounted on the first floor.
In 1979, in the manufacture of the Porsche 928, the second production line was activated.
This was the first time that a suspension system was used to mount the chassis, which was then briefly taken over when the Porsche 911 was assembled. At the beginning of the 1980s, Porsche moved to the use of roller pallet stacker on the second floor. The assembly was carried out on a stationary car, but at the end of each cycle, the cars moved automatically within the same production operation. At the same time, Porsche has continued to develop manufacturing technology. Accordingly, the Boxster and 911 models are now assembled together on a continuously moving assembly line in a model mix system.
Since 1987, the previously wrapped car bodies have been transferred from a newly constructed bodywork to a polishing workshop and then to the assembly hall.