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This is how a gearbox is made


The Seat Componentes plant near Barcelona, has been allocated the Volkswagen Group’s new MQ281 gearbox, a part that will be made there to service their global requirements. For the first time, a carmaker has installed POV cameras at different stages of the manufacturing process to show everything involved in making them in an accelerated video lasting 60 seconds.


Every 27 seconds, a new unit leaves the Seat Componentes plant, which ranks first in manufacturing time for the Volkswagen Group’s five-speed manual gearboxes; more specifically, one hour and 41 minutes in total.

Seat Componentes has manufactured over 13.5 million of the MQ200 model gearboxes. These units are used in 29 Volkswagen Group car models and are exported worldwide. In 2016 a total of 661,277 units were manufactured, a figure that is expected to slightly increase this year.

Manufacturing the gearboxes requires smelting 15,000 tonnes of aluminium every year, the amount used to make 220 commercial airliners. The ingots are loaded into kilns at nearly 700°C for smelting. Several injection moulding machines solidify the molten aluminium into a rough part in 20 seconds.

Each gearbox is made of 174 parts. Annual in-house production at Seat Componentes totals more than 18 million parts each year, including shafts, gearwheels and timing mechanisms.

The parts that are manufactured in-house undergo heat treatment to ensure their durability, and can remain up to 14 hours at a temperature of 900°C. This process enables the service life of a gearbox to be multiplied by 5,000, which is estimated to be an average of 250,000 kilometres. During its service life, 500,000 gear changes on average are performed.

At the Seat Componentes plant, 95% of the aluminium used gets recycled, as well as the majority of the oils and other consumables used in the manufacturing process.

Finally, more than 500 machines and robots are involved in the manufacturing process of a gearbox.