Individualisation allows you to stand out from the crowd and give a product its own stamp. It starts with the online design of sneakers, continues with the sofa for which we become designers ourselves, and ends with our car, which we can at least partially configure individually. Individualisation is becoming increasingly important, especially in the automotive industry. But there is much more to the construction of micro and small series than the pink tuned sports car, which among other crazy things finds itself in the garage of an international music starlet. For the experts at EDAG, the field of testing and vehicle construction is not only the development of prototypes, pre-series vehicles and small series production, but also the chance to work on solutions for tomorrow's mobility.
Small series: not only individually for the customer, but also for the automobile manufacturer itself.
Looking at the processes that are necessary for a vehicle to be mass-produced, it quickly becomes clear that a reorganisation of this well-rehearsed orchestra is only possible with a great deal of effort. In addition to planning the production processes, setting up a production facility with the necessary hardware and assembling the individual vehicle components, everything follows a meticulous plan and strictly defined cycle times at which the components must be available. Depending on the size of the production plant, between 2,000 and 3,500 vehicles are produced in one day.
In the automotive industry, a small or low-volume production run is defined as one type of vehicle produced in less than 1,000 units, but in most cases the figures are even far below that. In "mass customisation", the customer assembles a vehicle from existing modules to create his individualised car. However, at some point the wishes are so individual that it becomes impossible for the OEM to integrate such a vehicle into the existing production processes because of its individuality, as it would require enormous effort and very high costs to create the necessary special processes. Even the components required for such an unique individual are not always off-the-shelf, but may have to be specially developed and manufactured.
Even during the development of such a vehicle, OEMs rely on the support of external partners, since here too all processes are designed for mass production rather than small quantities. Thanks to our expertise in complete vehicle development, we can flexibly support all necessary development steps and processes even in this early phase. We take over project management, component development, validation, supplier and quality control and management - in other words, we set up the complete supply chain.
Often, standard suppliers of OEMs are out of the question for the construction of special vehicle parts due to their portfolio and size and we have to switch to small or medium-sized suppliers in order to implement a business case. Therefore we develop the components together with the supplier. EDAG can of course also manufacture many components in-house in your production units. The new components are then installed in the vehicle at one of our 5 locations. We become the OEM's extended workbench, as it were, and also take over all the accompanying processes that the OEM does not need to take over in addition to its daily business.
You determine the degree of individualisation
The scope of the work we take on is also very different:
It can be pure vehicle conversions with only a few design elements, which build on an existing vehicle, or the complete new development of a car. There are also different approaches here: The vehicle is developed completely at the OEM, he selects the appropriate suppliers, and EDAG takes over the coordination of all the trades and the subsequent control, production and assembly of the components, and of course end-to-end quality assurance. Or it could be a turn-key project, in which we only receive rough design sketches or the data set of a basic vehicle and the most important features that the vehicle should have in the end.
This is where our development department then begins with a connection concept, develops new surfaces, works on new layouts based on the existing structures, from which parts are then derived. These parts are built as first prototypes in the so-called "Rapid Prototyping" process in order to carry out first basic tests on the vehicle. This ensures that the component meets the expectations and, for example, that the gap dimensions fit exactly. Once all parts and components have been quality-tested and assured, certification takes place and the production process can begin. The finished prototype of a vehicle is the basis for us. At EDAG the vehicle goes through the same development process as an OEM, but thanks to our lean processes it is much more flexible, agile and cost-effective.
When it comes to vehicle development, there is no challenge that we do not meet, even though every project, especially in the area of small series, has different requirements. No matter whether it's a matter of adapting body shells or chassis, or developing concept cars like our EDAG CityBot: We take on all the steps necessary to turn a prototype into a drivable, tested vehicle tailored to the customer's specific needs.
Good looks are not the only thing that counts.
But as a competent partner, we do not only provide support in the areas of exterior and interior. Even when it comes to drive technology, EDAG is a trendsetter: for example, we have our own Competence Centre for the development of all aspects of e-mobility, but of course we also deal with other alternative drive concepts such as Fuel cells or hybrid drive system For example, we were able to successfully support a major development project for Daimler and demonstrate our innovation expertise as the responsible engineering partner in the field of drive technology.
Our expert Michael Rittger, Senior Project Manager Testing & vehicle construction has already supervised many different small series projects and knows the typical challenges that are decisive for implementation. He will be happy to help you with any questions you may have, regardless of whether you are just planning a vehicle conversion or a show car as a customer attraction.