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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.

SEAT Componentes manufactures 18 million parts every year (Credit: SEAT Componentes)

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.

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