Ferrari Factory – in the heart of the myth

The fog is lifting in the Emilian countryside with no name. Nothing which means nothing but cold and humidity. Sad and depressing landscape. Yes, Ferrari lives here. Here, powerful men all over the world and the whole Formula 1 since its birth came to knock. Each square meter is imbued with history. This illustrates what Ferrari is and why it has won so much. Everyone who works here feels to be the chosen one, with the only mission for which Ferrari calls: to win. The Ferrari factory, here the miracle happens, here the world’s most eligible cars are born.

550.000 square metres and 3.000 employees (600 of whom work at "Gestione sportiva”). No dust, oil, or grease: I’ve been in kitchens whose floors aren’t this clean”, a visitor has said. The factory gate of “via Abetone” is the same as that which has seen the first Ferrari produced out of the gate. Enzo Ferrari’s office was located where he could see what’s in and out of the factory, his house at the centre of Fiorano circuit. And that’s saying something about Commendatore’s days …. Streets in the factory are named after the Ferrari drivers who have won a world title at least, except for Michael Schumacher, after whom a square is named. Assembly lines with links even under the floor. The bodywork and vehicle chassis united together with engines through a process that Ferrari employees call “il matrimonio” (the wedding). Each step in the carousel system lasts 19 seconds, wedding included. The 12-cylinder engine is assembled in 5 days by one man who, in the past, always signed the engine, and now does it only upon request. The two robots are called “Romeo e Giulietta” (Romeo and Juliet) by employees, as they always work together. Finished cars are tested out of the factory for about 50 kilometres. Temperature, noise and lights are regulated in order to guarantee the best working conditions. Some say that in the gardens of the factory buildings a squirrel once lived. Automation for repetitive processes only, letting the man keeping on working on the qualitative part. Finished engines are shown exposed for maintaining motivation of employees who never see them as they work on single pieces only.

Founded in 1929 as a racecar sponsor and manufacturer, Ferrari has been producing hand-finished road vehicles since 1947. All Ferraris in the world continue to be produced exclusively on the Maranello campus, where every Ferrari is produced custom to order, and all installations are performed by hand. As a result, the company produces approximately 10 to 12 cars a day. The bodywork and vehicle chassis of Ferrari vehicles are constructed at the Carrozzeria Scaglietti in nearby Modena. A separate building at the Maranello factory houses the fully automated painting and finishing centers, where the bodies are completed before arrival at the assembly center. Although the engine manufacturing process involves the use of robots for production, all testing, final assembly, and installation is done by hand.

Ferrari factory: the addition to the Ferrari compound at Maranello, constructed in 2009 and located in the historical part of the factory, was designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel, a Paris-based architecture firm. It includes a new assembly facility, showrooms, offices and retail space, unified under a large, louvered roof made of mirrored stainless-steel sheets, positioned at an angle relative to the roof plane to reflect light and images of the sky to the spaces beneath. A series of gardens are located within and around the buildings of the compound. For the most part, the existing buildings remain untouched. A number of other new buildings have been added to the compound in recent years, such as the Ferrari wind tunnel, designed by Renzo Piano and an office building designed by Massimiliano Fuksas. The Ferrari factory, organized under Montezemolo’s “formula uomo” initiative for employee health and satisfaction, operates on only a single 8am to 5pm shift each day.

Assembly line: the building of the ‘new assembly line’, is the site of the last stages of a vehicle’s creation and occupies over 21,000 square meters of space, divided across two floors into assembly lines for 8 and 12 cylinder cars, as well as a test area, prototype development facility, and offices and meeting rooms. At this building the vehicle bodies, along with the fully tested engine and gearbox modules from the engine assembly facility next door, ultimately all arrive. Here the engines are installed into the body, the chosen top panel is bolted in, and the selected seating materials, dashboards, and any special inserts are installed, a journey that takes each vehicle approximately three working days from start to finish, the last steps of a manufacturing process that altogether takes about three weeks. The carousel system makes use of pincer machines designed by Italian robot manufacturers Comau that permit easy access to all sides of the vehicle. The cars are placed at the best height for each worker, and can be rotated to permit work to be done on its underside. The only automation, however, is in the transport of the cars from station to station; all work on the vehicles themselves continues to be completed entirely by hand. Each car travels along the course with a specification sheet indicating everything about its design, for technicians’ reference. V8 and V12 cylinder cars are produced along separate assembly lines, the former requiring an average of about one half-hour of work at each station and the latter closer to an hour.

Welcome to paradise.

Dec 05, 2017
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