The supply of protective fabrics is the result of a European tendering procedure. The defined specifications related to the Audi house style, wear resistance, a contemporary cut, the high quality of the fabrics, and the potential application to all VW workwear in Germany. The workers concerned are active in plating, body construction, assembly and mechanical engineering at the main site in Ingolstadt and the production company in Neckarsulm (Germany). During their work, they are not exposed to risks that require further specifications.
Wishes and specifications
As far as the tender was concerned, wearer comfort and quality ranked first and foremost. A working group was formed from among the project group personal protection resources (Arbeitskreis Persönliche Schutzausrüstung) of Volkswagen and Audi. This working group, consisting of eight professionals from the larger sectors of the organisation, concentrated on the design, material and colours for the workwear. They formulated wishes, consulted the guidelines concerning house style, drew up the technical specifications, and assessed the samples and colours submitted. The starting point was a combination of 65% cotton and 35% polyester of 250 grams.
Three garment makers were asked to make prototypes of articles of clothing using the
fabrics under consideration. These were subjected to wearer trials conducted throughout
VW and Audi, involving 1,800 workers. They assessed the clothing in terms of:
- freedom of movement
- wearer comfort – even after several industrial washes
Sometimes workwear undergoes as many as 150 industrial washing cycles during its service
life. The wearer trials generated comments and recommendations, which led to the selection of the final two fabrics– one being Tecawork™ BG 1003. This was already known to VW: the car manufacturer had specified this fabric in an earlier order.
Quality is precision in detail: with their expert eyes, workers in Neckarsulm examine the bodywork of the Audi A8
Arnold Maus works for the work and safety department of Audi AG. He was involved in the whole process and can look back on a successful procedure. ‘Partly thanks to the thorough groundwork, the process has run seamlessly to date, with a smooth transition to the clothing. And the workers are enthusiastic. The clothing looks good, has a modern cut, and is comfortable to wear.’
According to the guidelines of the Audi corporate image, the workwear is traditionally based on the colours red, silver and grey. With a view to wider deployability, however, VW and Audi decided on one colour scheme: silver grey as the main colour, with the logos and accent colours in red for Audi and blue for Volkswagen, to distinguish the different makes. These colours are currently being applied at the production sites in Germany, Belgium and Mexico, and will be applied elsewhere in the near future.
Close contact to meet deliveries
All the production workers concerned received the clothing, consisting of four articles for both men and women: trousers, short jacket, trouser suit and overalls. New fabrics are supplied to garment makers every so often: after all, clothing does wear out and new workers too need workwear. To keep on track with deliveries, members of the Arbeitskreiz Persönliche Schutzausrüstung of Volkswagen and Audi meet together twice a year to exchange information and experiences. In addition, there is frequent contact with all suppliers of the value chain.
Arnold Maus about his experiences in this process: ‘I have successfully collaborated with TenCate Protective Fabrics and their industry experts for many years. Changes in workwear and protective clothing have brought me into regular contact with the company’s experts. So I’m well informed when it comes to the technical details, characteristics, and naturally the colours of the available fabrics.’