Porsche’s Leipzig Plant Named Factory Of The Year By Kearney 

This Porsche Smart Factory in Leipzig currently churns out its Macan and Panamera models. 

Global management consulting firm, in conjunction with Süddeutscher Verlag Veranstaltungen and the trade magazine Produktion, has recently named the Porsche factory in Leipzig its ‘Factory of the Year’ for 2023. The sports car manufacturer’s production site in Saxony came out ahead of competitors to win over the panel of expert judges when they visited last autumn, beating out almost other 100 factories around the world who submitted bids for the renowned industry award. 

Its second factory after the company’s headquarters in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Porsche’s Leipzig plant employs 4,600 staff and is where both its Macan and Panamera models are produced. This factory is also home to a Porsche Experience Centre, with an FIA-certified track and an off-road course. 

The Intelligent, Connected Factory – Smart, Lean, Green

This particular award is, as Porsche puts it, a testament to the implementation of its vision of an intelligent, connected facility through its Smart Factory approach, based on efficient, resource-sparing processes – smart, lean and green. 

The new ‘marriage’ process (where the powertrain meets the shell) in the Leipzig assembly plant is touted by Porsche to be a prime example of lean mixed production with a high degree of complexity, as it is capable of handling for three different types of drivetrain – combustion, hybrid and electric – to be produced on a single assembly line. Camera-based battery monitoring for EVs have also been integrated, along with an automatic measuring system for inspecting the screw threads. 

Another example meanwhile of this Smart Factory ethos in action in Leipzig is in its paint shop. In the past, coats of paint were inspected by members of the team, but now a smart solution does this with significantly greater efficiency courtesy of automatic error detection (AFE) has been in series operation since 2023. 

In just 70 seconds, two robots scan the entire outer surface of a car’s body with a pattern of light strips. Around 100,000 photos enable them to use reflections to identify even the tiniest irregularities. Then based on these results, five image-processing computers generate a 3D visualisation of the body that very rapidly shows the workers the location and type of irregularities detected.

Sustainability and commitment to society as further success factors

Porsche is currently aiming to reduce its impact on the environment as much as possible. One aspect of its vision of a Zero Impact Factory is to promote a circular economy, biodiversity and air quality. 

Since 2017, the Leipzig factory has used electricity only from renewable energies, with production at the Leipzig factory has been CO2-neutral since 2021. A portion of the electricity required is produced by the factory itself, with four photovoltaic systems installed for a total output of around 9.4 MWp (megawatt peak). Porsche is working towards a carbon-neutral status across its value chain for its newly produced cars by 2030.

Alongside resource-sparing production, Porsche has also made a wide-ranging social commitment in Leipzig. The sports car manufacturer supports projects in the region relating to education, culture, social issues, sport and the environment. The factory’s strategy has also included projects to conserve the variety of species on the premises for more than 20 years. 

On the approximately 132-hectare off-road terrain, the factory has implemented a nature-based grazing meadow concept. Along with Heck cattle and Exmoor ponies, Porsche has introduced about three million honeybees to the site, whose natural areas also provide a living space for many wild animals and plants. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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