FROM COIL TO VEHICLE

 At VDL Nedcar, building vehicles is deeply embedded in our DNA. Our factory consists of four production departments, which work closely together to create the most efficient ​production flow. Let us take you on a journey through our factory. From coil to vehicle! 

Press Shop

Every day, several hundred tonnes of steel arrive at VDL Nedcar’s large Press Shop, which covers a total area of 26,000 m2, in steel coils of various material specifications, thicknesses and widths. This is where the car production process starts.

In the Press Shop, the most important pressed parts used in the MINI Countryman and MINI Convertible produced in Born are prepared using deep drawing, bending and cutting processes. Parts are also pressed for customers who carry out production outside our company. This work is carried out using tandem pressing lines and transfer presses.

To guarantee that VDL Nedcar’s primary targets for quality, cost control, delivery and flexibility are always satisfied, we operate according to the very strict IATF 16949:2016 quality standard.

The Press Shop also features a high degree of process control and extensive automation, to guarantee the accuracy of the pressing operations and to ensure production efficiency. This also guarantees that the required parts are available at the right moment and in the right place. The quality control process includes an advanced photometric measuring system. Thanks to the smart, well planned and well managed production process, which includes quick die change capability, we achieve high levels of efficiency while disruptions to the production process are kept to a minimum.

Body Shop

In the production unit known as the Body Shop, the various (sheet metal) parts are assembled into an unpainted body shell, in a combination of complex, highly automated production lines in which different body types can be produced in any order.

Floor pans, side walls, roof panels, doors, mudguards, boot lids and bonnets are brought together at just the right time, in just the right place, so that the body shell gradually takes shape.

Essential to the body building process are the various fastening technologies such as spot welding, laser welding, arc welding, seaming and glued and screwed joints. To guarantee the best possible quality and to satisfy the strict requirements imposed on dimensioning and body surface, we rely on high quality robot technology, automated transport systems, automatic quality control and measuring systems, as well as complex control and safety systems.

The Body Shop was entirely restructured in 2013 and is the most highly robotised production unit at VDL Nedcar. Around 50 fully automated production lines and robots cells encompassing more than 1,300 robots occupy a total floor area of 80,000 m2.
 

Paint shop

To meet the high expectations of even the most critical clients, VDL Nedcar has an ultramodern Paint Shop. Here, the untrimmed body shells arriving from the Body Shop are cleaned, degreased and coated with a primer to ensure perfect adhesion of the water-based top coat.

Using an electrophoretic primer coating process in which the entire body shell is immersed in primer, corrosion-protection coating is applied to even the smallest cavities and the inside walls of the steel box sections. The seams on the inside and outside of the body are sealed for extra protection, and bitumen mats are fixed inside body panels to counteract noise and vibration. In total, four coats of paint are applied to each car. Our Paint Shop naturally complies with the stringent requirements imposed by environmental legislation.
 

Assembly

The gleaming, untrimmed body shells arrive from the Paint Shop and are placed on a 1.5 kilometre-long assembly line. Depending on the individual requirements of each customer, the many highly trained specialists at VDL Nedcar, supported by robots, fit thousands of different parts on the body shell. Our Just-in-Time and Just-in-Sequence processes ensure that all these parts are delivered precisely at the right moment and at the right place.

At the end of the final assembly line, the cars are almost fully finished and ready for their driver. However, they are only allowed to leave the factory after a series of comprehensive inspections and functionality tests. All relevant data are subsequently stored for tracking and tracing. These data also help us in the continuous improvement of our organisation and processes that themselves represent the perfect combination of theory and practice learned from our Japanese and German partners.

When the cars have passed the many stringent tests, they are driven to the delivery yard. From here they are transported by road to the dealer showrooms. On balance, we only manufacture cars that have already been sold.
 

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