The Martorell production facility, located some 30 kilometres from Barcelona, was officially opened in February 1993 by HM Juan Carlos I of Spain, and is one of the most modern facilities of its kind in Europe. It covers a total surface area of over 2,800,000 square metres (the equivalent of 400 football fields) of which 260,000 are landscaped areas. Some 11,070 people work in its 15 buildings, divided into morning, afternoon and night shifts. Current daily production at the facility is in the region of 2,100 units (500.005 annual units in 2019), which are then shipped for marketing via road, sea and rail. SEAT sells its cars in 77 countries.
The introduction of innovations in the production processes, the broadening of personnel training – at the different centres located within the facility itself – and the use of state-of-the-art technology have enabled modernisation of the facility, whose assembly lines offer great production versatility. All SEAT range models are made at Martorell – with the exception of the Alhambra, Toledo and Mii – based on the fundamental premise of offering top-quality product capable of satisfying customer requirements.
The production process begins at the presses, where body parts are stamped. The area has three lines where parts are transported automatically from die to die – thus making the process continuous – to shape all the car’s bodywork elements. The presses are located within a sound-proofed area to as to prevent noise pollution.
At the second stage, the bodywork shops take pride of place. They are the most highly-automated part of the factory, and within them more than two thousand robots make almost 100% of the bodywork’s spot-welds. Ultrasound-controlled laser welding is used in some areas so as to guarantee pinpoint precision in the finishes. During the assembly process, the vehicle’s bodywork is submitted to an exhaustive on-line process of measurement.
Later, painting is carried in two different workshops. In the first the surface priming process is carried out, so as to provide guarantees against corrosion. In the second robots apply the various coats of paint and finishing lacquer, both inside and outside the vehicle. The workshops are built and equipped bearing in mind the most environmentally-friendly technology and have replaced solvents with water-based primers and use water-based primers.
Once painted, the bodywork is transferred to the assembly workshop, where the interior parts are fitted. Virtual tools – enabling visualisation of the processes before implementation – are used in order to improve efficiency in the introduction of new processes. Martorell is an excellent example of a factory designed to provide optimum conditions at the workplace, noteworthy advances in ergonomics having been made with the introduction of the transversal modular platform (MQB).
The use of the ‘just in time’ concept is also worthy of mention. This method of supply to the assembly line was pioneered by SEAT in Spain, since it has an entire industrial estate close to its facilities. In recent years important innovations have been introduced in the system, such as the JIT supply of vehicle front-ends using low-cost automatic transport systems.
All vehicles rolling off the assembly lines are automatically identified via a ground-breaking radio-frequency system, and are submitted to exhaustive checks (using standardised patterns for all Volkswagen Group vehicles) for quality assurance before being taken to the distribution holding areas, from where they are transported to SEAT dealerships in more than 75 countries.
The Martorell production facility uses the most stringent quality assurance and sustainability criteria in the vehicle manufacturing process; in line with its commitment to environmental protection, it earmarks substantial resources to this end. In recent years the SEAT al Sol project has transformed the Martorell facility into the largest photovoltaic panel plant anywhere in the automotive industry world. The 53,000 solar panels on the rooftops of the workshops and the temporary vehicle holding areas generate 15 million kWh per year, entailing the elimination of 7,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.
The Martorell facility is also equipped with two more major emission-reducing systems. Firstly it has two rail links totalling 40 kilometres in length – the Autometro, transporting vehicles directly to the Port of Barcelona; and the Cargometro, bringing components directly from Barcelona’s Zona Franca. Taken together, these rail links take some 50,000 vehicles trips off the road and eliminate the emission of 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. The plant also has a combined heat & power plant, generating 50% of the electricity and 90% of the thermal energy it consumes, thus eliminating as much as 12,800 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Annual water consumption: 1.282.000 m³
Annual electricity consumption: 260 GWh
Annual gas consumption: 495 MWh
Daily production: Approx. 2,100 units
Number of robots: More than 2,400
Production speed: 1 car every 40 seconds
Internal routes: 10.5 km railways, 25 km roads