“We for us. Active into the future” – Audi sharpens its focus on ergonomics

Audi has played a leading role for ergonomics in the automotive industry for many years. The company is now focusing even more on ergonomics in order to safeguard the health and productivity of its workforce over the long term. “We want to enhance the awareness of good working practice throughout the company,” explained Audi’s Board of Management Member for Production, Dr. Frank Dreves, who initiated this strategy. “Only in this way can we continue to optimally meet the steadily growing challenges ahead of us.”

With its ergonomics strategy under the motto of “We for us. Active into the future,” Audi is responding to current and future challenges: Electronics, lightweight construction and cars’ increasing diversity and complexity are transforming working life and already have a strong influence on the requirements and content of work today. In parallel, the Audi production network is growing – not only in Germany, but especially in Asia and Latin America as well. Above all in Germany, demographic change means that in just a few years’ time, about half of the workforce will be over 50 years of age. At the same time, due to the change of generations, young people are entering the company with new expectations of their working environment.

Audi is meeting these challenges with five areas for action: New, holistic ergonomic assessment methods have been designed to take account of employees’ physical and psychological well-being. For group work, it is important to work out intelligent rotation concepts and improved training methods. Ergonomic criteria are then to be considered as an objective already during the design of a car, and are to be documented according to a binding Audi standard. A new, global ergonomics network will have the task of implementing uniform standards worldwide. The ongoing expansion of advisory services and dialog is to establish the topic in the employees’ awareness more firmly in the future.

The strategy “We for us. Active into the future.” was kicked off in Assembly Hall A2 at the Ingolstadt plant with the Ergonomics Days on November 18 and 19. They were planned as an interactive marketplace with several stations. Staff members from the area of production were able to gain detailed information on the new strategy and the coming challenges.

Representatives of the Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Brussels and Győr sites presented practical examples of minor and major improvement from various production departments. A direct before-after comparison shows that they all have great effects. For example, Audi Hungaria presented a mirror that allows assembly employees to tighten screws at the front end while standing upright instead of bending down. Paint-shop workers at the Brussels plant have developed a device to automatically open the tailgate of the Audi A1. Ingolstadt sent a new generation of the ergonomic assembly seat with which employees can enter the car’s interior even more effortlessly to tighten the screws located there. And a team from Neckarsulm presented a newly designed pre-assembly table for the center console. It can be adjusted to the employees’ individual needs and thus improves their posture. Furthermore, a new technology reduces the force of recoils when tightening screws, reducing strain on the wrist.