How VW Group’s new MQ281 transmission is created

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The OEM has installed POV cameras at different stages of the manufacturing process at the Seat component plant in El Prat de Llobregat, Barcelona, where VW Group’s new MQ281 gearbox is manufactured. This footage shows the entire production process in an accelerated video that lasts 60 seconds.

Every 27 seconds, a new unit leaves the plant, which ranks first in manufacturing time for VW Group’s five-speed manual gearboxes; more specifically, one hour and 41 minutes in total.

The plant has manufactured over 13.5 million of the MQ200 model transmissions. These units are used in 29 VW Group 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.

Manufacturing the gearboxes requires smelting 15,000 tonnes of aluminum every year, the amount used to make 220 commercial airliners. The ingots are loaded into kilns at nearly 700°C for smelting. Several injection molding machines solidify the molten aluminum into a rough part in 20 seconds.

Each gearbox is made of 174 parts. Annual in-house production at the Seat factory totals more than 18 million parts, including shafts, gearwheels and timing mechanisms.

Parts 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 250,000 kilometers. During its service life, 500,000 gear changes on average are performed.

At the facility 95% of the aluminum used gets recycled, as well as the majority of the oils and other consumeables used in the manufacturing process.

More than 500 machines and robots are involved in the manufacturing process of a transmission.

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About Author

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Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine of the Year Awards.

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