Porsche has expanded its R&D center is Weissach, Germany, a facility that has been responsible for developing the company’s future products for more than four decades. The $200m project — the largest investment project in the center’s history — has gained three new buildings, amongst which a new design studio, aero-acoustic wind tunnel and electronics integration center.
“Intelligent engineering leads to success not only in motor vehicle manufacturing, but in architecture as well. That’s shown by these new buildings: our creative developers are able here to work hand-in-hand even more methodically than before,” said Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, during the opening ceremony.
The research and development center already stood out in the sector in the past, with the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer being the only player in the industry pooling all R&D together in one place: from concept to production car development (from the first design sketches via drive system, bodywork, chassis, electrics and electronics), including test runs on the center’s own road and off-road circuit.
Over 6,000 employees from Porsche (4,500) and partner companies (1,500) currently work at the center in development, motor sport, purchasing and supporting fields.
The new design studio enables all of these departments to work together in unison, in one location. Its architectural layout is said to facilitate a ‘maximum level of transparency and communication’ between its designers, and strengthens interaction between the ‘Preparation’ and ‘Flow Analysis’ disciplines, whose staff works together with the designers in the same building complex.
Gross floor space of the design studio with concept model construction and flow bench stands at 21,600 sq. m. Total staff of the design studio stands at 100 and there are seven plates (for the creation of full-size concept models) each for exterior and interior design.
“Everything is concentrated in Weissach,” a Porsche representative told Form Trends. “Before the opening of the new design studio we had some small satellites around Weissach. But now the whole team is working in a very efficient and creative process under one roof. “
Adjacent to the studio is the new wind tunnel, which occupies 7,500 sq m. of real estate. The proximity aids daily collaboration and reduces the time cycles between design and aero-acoustic development. In this process the experts make multiple use of the wind tunnel, from the early stage of developing concept car designs right through to testing vehicles ready for full production.
Electronics Integration Center
The adjacent Electronics Integration Center (EIZ) brings together the work of the Porsche developers in the fields of electrics and electronics, thus facilitating a perfect interplay of all components in the vehicle. Previously, the individual electrical and electronics departments were spread across 12 different buildings on the Weissach site. The building’s ‘process enhancing’ architecture assists the development process and now makes the EIZ a genuine accelerator of innovation.
Porsche invested well over $2 billion in research and development, or roughly 11 percent of its total revenues, at the Weissach Development Center in 2013. The building and equipment for the wind tunnel represent the single largest element of the sports car manufacturer’s $200 million plus investment at this site.
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