A finished unit every 27 seconds - how a gearbox is made
06 March 2017
For the first time, a carmaker has installed POV cameras at different stages of the manufacturing process to show everything involved in making them.
The SEAT Componentes plant in El Prat de Llobregat, Barcelona, has been allocated the Volkswagen Group’s new MQ281 gearbox, a part that will be made there for the entire world.
A gearbox every 27 seconds: Every 27 seconds, a new unit leaves the SEAT Componentes plant, which ranks first in manufacturing time for the Volkswagen Group’s five-speed manual gearboxes; more specifically, one hour and 41 minutes in total.
More than 13.5 million gearboxes: SEAT Componentes has manufactured over 13.5 million of the MQ200 model gearboxes. These units are used in 29 Volkswagen Group car models and are exported worldwide. In 2016 a total of 661,277 units were manufactured, a figure that is expected to slightly increase this year.
Smelting at 700°C: Manufacturing the gearboxes requires smelting 15,000 tonnes of aluminium every year, the amount used to make 220 commercial airliners. The ingots are loaded into kilns at nearly 700°C for smelting. Several injection moulding machines solidify the molten aluminium into a rough part in 20 seconds.
8 million parts every year: Each gearbox is made of 174 parts. Annual in-house production at SEAT Componentes totals more than 18 million parts, including shafts, gearwheels and timing mechanisms.
250,000km lifespan: The parts that are manufactured in-house undergo heat treatment to ensure their durability, and can remain up to 14 hours at a temperature of 900°C. This process enables the service life of a gearbox to be multiplied by 5,000, which is estimated to be an average of 250,000km. During its service life, 500,000 gear changes on average are performed.
A process that recycles: At the SEAT Componentes plant, 95 percent of the aluminium used gets recycled, as well as the majority of the oils and other consumables used in the manufacturing process.
Machinery used: More than 500 machines and robots are involved in the manufacturing process of a gearbox.
Video courtesy of SEAT Componentes.