Audi to launch latest-generation prelube oil for production line
Ingolstadt-based Audi announced that it will be launching second-generation steel coil lubrication that only needs a little amount of oil to protect the metal sheets before being turned into car parts at the press shop.
The announcement for the introduction of Prelube II was made following the start of Audi Q6 e-tron's production. The latest product will help to significantly reduce the amount of lubricant required that protects the metal sheets against corrosion.
According to Audi, the idea came from Audi employees in the press shop in Ingolstadt — and has already caught on at the Volkswagen Group.
Audi explained that only 0.7 grams of Prelube II is applied over every square meter of sheet steel with almost identical processing parameters as with the conventional lubrication Prelube I wherein 1 gram of oil is applied over the same area.
The newest oil class builds a protective film that does not run off the metal surface. “For the reinforcement frame of the roof of the Audi A4, for example, just 2.7 grams of Prelube II are needed instead of the usual 3.9 grams of conventional oil,” Audi cited in its statement.
They also shared that “extrapolated to all steel components that Audi machines at its production locations in Europe and Mexico, this offers incredible savings potential of around 40 metric tons of oil every year compared with the same period in 2018.”
Audi AG Board Member for Production and Logistics Peter Kössler said that introduction of the latest product is about sustainability over long term.
“At Audi, we’re always thinking about how to make our process steps in production and logistics more sustainable over the long term. Every contribution to increasing resource efficiency and achieving the ambitious targets behind our Audi environmental campaign Mission:Zero helps,” he was quoted as saying.
With the start of production of the Audi Q6 e-tron in Ingolstadt, the Prelube II oil class has been set as the new standard for steel coil lubrication.
Further, the German-based automaker will try the product on each and every component and then switch the production process to Prelube II.
Dr. Ingo Faass from operations management at the press shop in Ingolstadt said that they have “managed to persuade our steel suppliers to switch to Prelube II” which is considered a technically challenging process but will help to conserve resources over the long term.”
He added, “The Volkswagen Group, too, has eagerly adopted our initiative and is planning to introduce the new oil class in Europe as the standard. This will increase the savings potential even more,”
The first-generation Prelube, as Audi explained, always suffered escapes from the sheet steel rolls that contaminate the storage areas and that the thin and sometimes unevenly applied lubrication would lead to problems during subsequent machining of the steel panels.
To provide a solution to this problem, employees from different departments – technology development, the tool and body shop and purchasing – collaborated, developed and approved Prelube II.
Paint Shop Production Planning's Martin Michallek in Ingolstadt said that unlike the Prelube I, the second-generation product is more environment-friendly since they are only applying a thinner coating of protective lubrication.
“In future degreasing processes, we will be able to significantly reduce the amount of cleaner that we use and, in particular, its surfactant content,” he noted.
Photos from Audi