AUDI AG is one of the most successful automotive manufacturers for the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racing series. Reimund Kraus from Quality Management at Audi Motorsport ensures that all vehicle components meet the drawing specifications. The ZEISS Metrology Center in Neuburg an der Donau assists him with this task.
From 0 to 100 in just 2.8 seconds with top speeds of 275 km/h and over 500 PS: the stats for the Audi RS 5 DTM are certainly impressive. And they have to be. 2017 marked the most successful year ever for Audi Motorsport in the DTM, and this year the company will defend its title. Doing so will require not just an outstanding team of drivers, but a perfectly tuned racecar. Reimund Kraus has been responsible for quality assurance since 2001. The development of the prototype race cars is an ongoing process, and the parts are one of a kind rather than mass produced. All this means Kraus' work is never done. Hence quality assurance is a top priority, especially with critical components whose failure would jeopardize the life of the driver. These are subject to 100% inspection and measured on a regular basis.
There are no measuring labs at the Audi Motorsport facility in Neuburg an der Donau. The company used to transport its components all the way to headquarters in Ingolstadt for measurement. However, it was not possible to offer flexible measuring times, which quickly exhausted any spare capacities. This prompted Kraus to get in touch with ZEISS. He was already familiar with the company's high-quality measuring machines from his time in Quality Assurance at headquarters. For him, the measurement result display with PiWeb tilted the balance, because this software would simplify communication with the development engineers enormously. ZEISS took on the measuring jobs for the Audi Motorsport team in 2012 and has been performing these at the new Metrology Center in Neuburg an der Donau since 2015. "The measuring house is well-equipped to accommodate our peak phases and plans accordingly. However, often our components have to be measured quickly and at short notice. We simply can't wait a week for the results. Luckily, the ZEISS Metrology Center is very flexible and always ready to help – that's especially important to us."
At our company, the race to the finish starts in the office. ZEISS provides the speed and quality we need, making them the right partner for us."Reimund Kraus, Quality Manager for Audi Motorsport
Carsten Gericke, who heads the measuring house, and his team perform 100% inspections for Audi on all types of parts, including control arms, tie rods and spindles. They primarily use the ZEISS PRISMO and CONTURA coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) and a Surfcom system for roughness and contour measurements. All race car components are measured at set intervals, usually around 6000 km. If something unexpected occurs in the meantime like an accident, the ZEISS team gets to work and inspects all the parts to ensure maximum safety. The metrology experts also assist with analyzing the measuring process. "ZEISS has taught us that 'not all measurements are created equal,' which explained why our measurement results differed from those from our suppliers," explains Kraus.
The measurements performed by Armin Eberhardt, Deputy Head of the Inspection Lab at the measuring house in Neuburg, indicated that both the supplier's measurement method and manufacturing process were faulty. Since all DTM cars are equipped with standard parts, at a meeting of the Deutscher Motor Sport Bund, Germany's motor racing governing body, Eberhardt had to convince all representatives from the participating automotive manufacturers that his results were correct. He ultimately persuaded them. As a result, the manufacturing method was modified, and the measurement results corrected. "At our company, the race to the finish starts in the office. ZEISS provides the speed and quality we need, making them the right partner."
Audi stands for sporty vehicles, high build quality and progressive design – for “Vorsprung durch Technik.” Founded in 1899 as Horch & Cie. Motorwagen-Werke by August Horch, today the company is among the world’s leading producers of premium cars. The company’s innovation capability is one reason behind its success: Audi has written automotive history with its quattro permanent all-wheel drive, with lightweight construction using the aluminum Audi Space Frame (ASF) and now piloted driving. The company is active in more than 100 markets worldwide and is growing continuously. In 2017 the Audi Group delivered 1,878,100 Audi brand cars to customers. The company currently employs 90,000 people worldwide, of which more than 60,000 are employed at the German sites in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm.