Prototype Development Centre

The Prototype Development Centre (PDC), located in the heart of the SEAT plant in Martorell, is the only centre for the development of prototypes in the automotive sector in Spain. The PDC embodies the implementation of a concept aiming at major breakthroughs in the innovation of the development processes within the Volkswagen Group, ratifying SEAT’s commitment to innovation and constant transformation towards Industry 4.0.

Inaugurated on 16 July 2007, it is one of SEAT’s flagship projects. Managed by the Vice-presidencies for Research and Development and Production, it brings together the knowledge, personnel and resources of the Prototype departments of the SEAT Technical Centre and the Pilot Workshop of Process Engineering in Martorell under one roof.

The PDC consolidates the activities related to the initial phases of design and development of a new model, both virtual and physical, together with issues of feasibility, productivity, problem analysis and preventive solutions for the production processes. Among its goals are securing and simulating processes beginning with the first prototype, cost and investment containment, eliminating intersections between R&D and Production and proactive problem solving using feedback from standard production series.

In addition, a new 3,000 m2 building was recently constructed with the aim of unifying all the processes and activities prior to the series production of a new model in a single area. The new building also houses the Design for Manufacturing room, where various areas of SEAT, such as R&D, quality, processes and manufacturing, work together with the more than 250 employees of the PDC to analyse and improve the product in the early stages of conceptualisation.

Thus, this centre draws on common resources and harnesses the synergies between departments to speed up cooperation, reduce and improve the launch times of future cars, boost process efficiency and increase the exchange of information in the development and industrialisation phases, always guaranteeing confidentiality.

In this way, involving people from very different areas encourages suggestions and opinions that enable problems to be assessed and solved before they happen. It is common for some of the new prototypes to enter the assembly line in order to analyse the viability of the model in its early stages of development.

One of the tools available is ‘Applied Virtual Ergonomics’, a new application from the MAVE project (Spanish initials for Virtual Ergonomic Analysis Mock-up), in which assembly operations are simulated without the need for physical vehicles or facilities, in order to assess operator fatigue in their daily tasks.

It also has virtual reality applications and a large area for additive manufacturing projects in the new 3D Printing Lab. There, state-of-the-art printers are used to print latest-generation parts for the development of prototypes and pre-series models, with a view to future launches.

The PDC facilities cover an area of 18,808 square metres and include the areas of Project Management, Virtual Assurance, DKM Models, Presses, Bodywork, Paint, Logistics, Assembly and Special Cars, as well as the new building, inaugurated in 2020, which brings together all the processes prior to the manufacture of future vehicles. The team is made up of 253 professionals qualified in the processes described and committed to continuous improvement and perfection.

Since its inauguration, the PDC has become the link between the company’s R&D and production departments; a place where virtuality becomes reality. Over its thirteen years of existence, a total of 13 concept cars have been developed here, including the IBE (2010), the Cupster (2014), the Leon Cross Sport (2015) and the CUPRA Ateca (2018), among others. Likewise, and to date, it has worked with 5,235 pre-series, 2,472 test prototypes and 224 technical models.

Key figures:
Surface area: 18,808 m²
Workforce: 253 employees

Prototypes and Virtual Models
Data Control Models (DKM)
Reference Models (RFM)
Creation of Prototype Parts and Means
Construction of Concept Cars, Prototypes and Pre-production Vehicles
Construction of Special Vehicles
Product-process Analysis in stages of Development and Launch

The Prototype Development Centre is one of SEAT’s flagship projects. Officially opened in July 16th 2007, it brought together know-how, personnel and resources from SEAT’s Prototypes department at its Technical Centre and the Pilot Processes Engineering Workshop in Martorell under a single roof.

Seamless cooperation, greater synergies, coupled with an increase in the flow of information during development and industrialisation stages are just some of the major advantages deriving from shared organisation and space. And confidentiality is always guaranteed – it is now normal to put a new prototype through the assembly line so as to analyse model feasibility during the early stages of development.

Some of the aims of the different PDC areas are securing and simulating processes beginning with the first prototype, cost and investment containment, eliminating intersections between R&D and Production, and pro-active problem-solving using feedback from standard production series.

One of the tools used is ‘Applied Virtual Ergonomy’, a new application from the MAVE project (Spanish initials for ‘Ergonomic Virtual Analysis Mock-up’), used to simulate assembly operations without the need for physical vehicles or facilities so as to analyse operator fatigue during routine tasks.

The PDC facilities cover a floor area of 18,808 square metres. The Centre’s areas of project management, virtual reality, DKM models, presses, bodywork, painting, logistics and special vehicle assembly are staffed by 253 highly-qualified professionals working on the diverse processes mentioned with a clear commitment to continuous improvement.

The Prototype Development Centre brings together personnel from very diverse company areas, encouraging opinions and suggestions which provide a pro-active pre-emptive approach to problems, thus improving costs and shortening construction time for prototypes and pre-production vehicles.

The PDC’s remit covers all processes involving data control model creation, prototypes and pre-production vehicles. The PDC is also involved in other activities including geometry assurance, ease-of-assembly for production vehicles, analysis and improvement of production, digitalisation of manufacturing processes and virtual ergonomy.

Key figures:
Surface area: 18,080 m²
Workforce: 253 employees
Prototypes and virtual models
Data control models (DKM)
Reference models (RFM)
Creation of Prototype parts and means
Construction of concept cars, prototypes and pre-production vehicles
Construction of special vehicles
Product-process analysis in stages of development and launch