New facility at VW in Kariega now operational

Throughout two and a half years of a worldwide pandemic and varying levels of lockdowns and travel restrictions, a project team across four countries collaborated to establish a new production facility at the Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) plant in Kariega.

Wax flooding facility 1 1800x1800

This R235-million project came to fruition recently when the ultra-modern wax flooding facility began operating here – simultaneously improving the efficiency and environmental impact of the wax flooding process for locally built Volkswagen Polos and Polo Vivos.

The wax flooding process, which serves to protect Volkswagen vehicles from corrosion in the cavities of the vehicle body, is now performed in a building covering 5 350 m² across four levels, in the plant’s former electro-coating facility. This same process is what enables Volkswagen to sell vehicles with a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty.

To establish this facility, colleagues across the Volkswagen Group in South Africa, Germany, Croatia and the Czech Republic worked remotely from January 2020 to conceptualise the project, using 3D laser scans, models and virtual navigation in the design phase. The international suppliers working on the project first visited the Kariega plant in July 2021, when the manufacturing of components for the facility had already begun.

A year later, the facility was operating across three shifts, producing 680 vehicles a day – though it is capable of meeting the demands of the plant’s fully installed capacity of 710 vehicles a day. In fact, at its full capacity, the wax flooding facility will be able to process 747 vehicles a day.

Using this new facility has not only allowed the VWSA plant to increase the volume of vehicles moving through the wax facility, but it has also reduced the environmental impact of the process. The new facility uses 25% less energy for heating and – as it uses liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) – has reduced CO₂ emissions for the process by 55%.

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