The floating R8

Transportation with obstacles

Friday, September 22nd, 2017. Today after the trade fair has closed its doors, the racing car R8 should be fetched by the Car Collection (CC) Team. They have announced their visit on our booth for about 7 p.m.; the hall inspector who operates the freight lift is already informed.

Around 6:50 p.m. we receive a message that the CC Team has been stuck in a traffic jam and will arrive later. We inform the hall inspector – no problem so far.

At 7:50 p.m. the CC Team arrives at the fairground. We hand over the special parking ticket for loading and unloading so that the trailer that is supposed to transport the R8 can drive directly in front of the hall. Just in time – this is only possible before 8:00 p.m.

8:05 p.m. Suddenly, a shock: The freight elevator does not work. What to do? We have two options:
1. Taking the next freight elevator that’s about 30 m further down the floor. However, this one first has to be cleared out – another exhibitor has stored dishes, empty containers, and a lot of stuff here.
2. Taking an elevator at the other side of the hall. For that, the R8 would have to be carried straight through the hall.
We choose option 1 and clear out the lift.

The CC Team carefully manoeuvres the R8 off the booth.

Thereby, the racing car is lifted with air pressure and seems to float. Very carefully it then gets to the elevator.

Shortly after, the R8 stands in front of the hall. Now it still has to be put into the transporter. With skilled movements the CC Team steers the racing car into the trailer and pulls it inside via two ramps, with the help of a winch. Now tying it up with lashing strips, stowing the tools, and let’s go.

At half past eight the first star on this year’s IAA booth has ended it’s performance.

Trade fair facts … a different way

Besides visitors, world premieres, and exhibitors there are more “IAA facts in figures” – for example on our booth.

– Only on one press day we took 87 pictures.

– 2,000 drinks were served on our booth on a professional day.

– Our cans with apple fizz are popular … on a public day, after just 44 seconds three cans that were placed at the reception desk were gone (okay, once it almost took twelve minutes).

– 78 trade fair reports were filled on one professional day.

– The way from the booth to the press entrance is exactly 665 steps. From here, our assistance fetched visitors.

– On a professional day, a colleague from our hardworking Catering team spent 13 hours washing dishes.

… and there are also our series products

Battery housing, aluminum front axle carrier, LEIKA floor panel … for all the innovations, our exhibits from the range of series production have come off badly at this point so far: Actually a pity, because here are also real highlights:

E. g. the hybrid front end in profile and shell design, that from now on is produced in Manchester/USA for the BMW X3 / X4. Or also body-in-white components of aluminum for Jaguar XFL that have especially been flown in from China.

The longitudinal member for Mercedes-Benz E class as well as an instrument panel beam for V Class / Vito, an oil pan rear seat for new Opel Insignia and door elements for Hyundai Tucson currently make their trade fair debut on our IAA booth.

Diverse products for the Volkswagen Group are this year also on board: The cross member for VW Tiguan, Touran and Skoda Kodiaq, the modular cross member for Audi Q5, the Crash Management System for Audi Q2 and the cross member floor panel for Audi Q2, Seat Ateca and others.

All in all, a colorful mix all across our product portfolio.

The journey of an exhibition part

When the exhibits are hanging, the fair can start. It’s a tradition that the actual stars of the booth – our products – are installed only the evening before the beginning of the fair. Otherwise, the danger would be too high for them to get a scratch shortly before. After all, everything should be perfect.

But the long journey these parts have made and all the work that’s behind it can often only be seen at the second glance. The video below shows the journey of a body-in-white part which is produced in our Chinese plant in Suzhou for Jaguar XFL.

New keyvisual

Just in time for the IAA and appropriate to this year’s film, the new key visual by KIRCHHOFF Automotive has been completed. It does not only decorate the brochure title, but is also often represented as an XXL graphic on the booth.

The file from which the prints for the niche in the bistro area have been designed has more than 250 megapixels. Dimensions that have brought us, our computers, as well as our agencies, to the limits of their achievements this year.

Future Cars – Our employees’ ideas

Future now – that is the motto of this years IAA. Topics like digitalization, E-mobility and networking are some of the future mobility concepts. Also our employees have some ideas, how future cars could look like.

Marcus Dörr, Senior Product Manager: “I image cars that won’t need streets any longer. Those could be similiar to drones which means that traffic problems would stop occuring.”

Alexandra Klein-Teske, Sales Manager PSA, Opel: “I think of features like environmentally friendly, noiseless and self-driving, that also means autonomously controlled when it comes to the traffic security. Maybe the vehicles are also going to look like a moving living room in which travelling from A to B is totally comfortable.”

Grzegorz Dworak, Senior Project Engineer: “I don’t believe that the cars will look totally different in 20 years time. The electric motor is going to be a key feature as well as a high aluminum share in the car body. Possibly, the form will be more oval shaped and we can individualize our cars at a standardized price.”


Our apprentecies have arrived

Today our career days end with the visit of about 60 apprentices. The first group from Attendorn has already arrived and the first selfies with the Audi R8 are saved on their smartphones.Now the popular IAA rally starts. The winner so the one who answers all questions in the shortest period of time is going to win a Bose wireless headphone.


Regional politics and mobility

During the regional meeting this afternoon, Arndt G. Kirchhoff met three regional politicians. Our CEO explained to Stefan Stracke, Manager employers’ association Olpe, Jochen Ritter, member of state parliament NRW and Christian Pospischil, mayor of Attendorn some of the trends at the IAA. Together they exchanged some thoughts about the mobility of the future.

Today is pupils day at out booth

Almost 30 students visiting the booth today opened our career days. After a warm welcome and a booth tour by Sabine Boehle, the rally through our booth and the fairground began. Three lucky winners received their prices from Arndt G. Kirchhoff. Maximillian Fingerhut won third place, a powerbank and USB drive. Thorben Scherf got a 50 Euro Amazon gift card as the second winner. For his engagement Pascal Linde was rewarded with the first price, wireless headphones by Bose.

A partnership for the future

According to the motto “Mexico and Germany – Partners in the Automotive Sector” J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff and other representatives of the industry talked about topics like NAFTA, junior engineers and investments in Mexico. “Mexico is a safe country. What I mean by that is that the investments there are reasonable and safe”, assured our CEO. On the Mexico-Day the ones present agreed that cooperation and free trade is an advantage for both countries.

Approachable Sports

KIRCHHOFF Automotive promotes motorsport and is also actively involved: Dr. Johannes F. Kirchhoff, Shareholder of KIRCHHOFF Automotive, takes part in races with the Car Collection Team. He and his team member Max Edelhoff gave an interview on our booth.
Also the basketball players Iserlohn Kangaroos offered “approachable sports”: employees and visitors could shoot hoops on our booth.

Here you can watch the video.

With the Ford Executives into the second week

The second week of the fair started this morning with the visit of the Ford Executives Birgit Behrendt, Vice President Global Programs and Purchasing, Caspar Hohage, Director Product Development and Greg Hamel, Director Indirect Purchasing and Business Strategy. Also the CEOs of the suppliers of the VDA raw material committee joined the booth tour. Arndt G. Kirchhoff led our guests through our innovation area and also presented the racing car Audi R8.


Angela Merkel visits the KIRCHHOFF Automotive booth

It’s 12 o’clock. The photographers get into their position while our colleagues simulate the upcoming guest’s stance in order to adjust camera angles. The CEO and COO of the KIRCHHOFF Holding Arndt and Wolfgang Kirchhoff do a few last minute preparations for their presentation of the recently developed battery case.

And finally the time has come. Journalists gather in front of the booth and set up their equipment as Angela Merkel  enters the hall. She greets the Kirchhoff family before entering the booth. Arndt G. Kirchhoff opens the presentation by welcoming the German chancellor in the name of all employees.

In the ongoing presentation Arndt explains the battery case to Angela Merkel while Wolfgang highlights the special features of the battery case, which are the crash stability, the impermeability as well as its cooling capabilities.

Even though the battery case only makes up less than one percent of KIRCHHOFF’s annual turnover, Arndt G. Kirchhoff highlights its importance to KIRCHHOFF Automotive in order to enhance futuristic innovations; to which Angela Merkel comments that as a company we are “ready to go” recognizing the importance of this technology innovation.

Cut. The journalists leave the booth, Angela Merkel shakes hands, the presentation is over and the normal insanity of the IAA continues.

Behind the Scenes – Chancellor Merkel’s Visit

It all starts with a question: “What  kind of technology will KIRCHHOFF Automotive present at IAA this year?” With a constant  focus on innovation  in technology, Chancellor Angela Merkel has confirmed  her presence at our booth tomorrow.

But hosting such an important guest is no easy task, much preparation is involved before and during her visit. After presenting the Chancellor and her team with a briefing on our new, cutting-edge technology for electric vehicles, she will visit us to see, and hear more about our innovations.

Once a detailed visitation schedule was established, it was our turn to make the appropriate accommodations. Necessary adaptations will be made to our booth in order to ensure a smooth visit. From lighting adjustments, to blocking certain areas of the booth and allocating specific measured areas for press representatives, these accommodations were carefully planned over many weeks.

The highlight of the visit will be the new battery housing for electric vehicles, a benchmark product for KIRCHHOFF Automotive. With much anticipation and excitement, we look forward to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit!

Photo: Chancellor Merkel’s visit to KIRCHHOFF Automotive’s Booth at the IAA in 2013.

Customer VIP Day at IAA

Today, Dr. Klaus Zehender (Member of the Group Executive Management Mercedes-Benz Cars), Alan Draper (Director Purchasing Ford of Europe) and Steve Kiefer (GM Vice President Global Powertrain) were our most important guests from the range of our customers.

During their visits, they extensively informed themselves about our innovations such as the high voltage battery housing for electric vehicles. This battery housing made of aluminum and steel is scalable for derivates with different scopes. On our booth we present two variants of the housing – with integrated and external cooling system.

Jörn Hasenfuß

Johannes Schauf, Axel Müller, Dr. Thorsten Gaitzsch, Arndt G. Kirchhoff, J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff

f.l.t.r.: Dr. Johannes F. Kirchhoff, Dr. Klaus Zehender, Arndt G. Kirchhoff, J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff

Alan Draper, Dr. Thorsten Gaitzsch, Volker Tofall, Arndt G. Kirchhoff, J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff (f.l.t.r.)

Steve Kiefer, Arndt G. Kirchhoff

Caffeine, please?

For early mornings and long days at the IAA, our booth is appropriately equipped with a bar, serving specialty beverages. Barista, Patrick Fuhrs, took the time to tell us what makes the perfect espresso. The coffee beans are freshly ground at the booth; the right balance between fine and coarse. Eight grams of coffee grounds are then tightly pressed and added to the espresso machine allowing the water to evenly seep through, leaving him with the right consistency – crema and all! Patrick offers a variety of warm beverages such as cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos and Americanos leaving the aroma of coffee hanging in the air — keeping us all alert and awake when we need it most.

First Press Day – our press release goes online

Innovations for the vehicles of the future – KIRCHHOFF Automotive at the IAA

Under the motto “innovations for the vehicles of the future,“ KIRCHHOFF Automotive is present at this year’s IAA. The focus of this year’s trade fair appearance pertains to lightweight design and car body structural parts that have been developed specifically for electric vehicles.

The IAA is considered the leading trade fair for mobility and takes place from September 14th to the 24th in Frankfurt Main/Germany. Innovative lightweight solutions for vehicle structures are one of the core themes of this year’s IAA trade fair appearance for KIRCHHOFF Automotive.

Using the example of a floor panel, the medium sized automotive supplier from South Westphalia presents a lightweight concept that efficiently applies material combinations for lightweight vehicle bodies. In an integral manufacturing process, several MF semi-finished products and thermoplastic molding compounds are processed in combination with one another.

Based on its lengthy experience in the development of crash proof hybrid steel and aluminum structures for automobiles, the company has also developed a hybrid battery housing made from a combination of steel and aluminum for electric vehicles. The main features of this innovative lightweight concept for the safe housing of high voltage battery modules in electric vehicles include the following: a cost effective design, a flat structure, passive safety, thermo-management, electromagnetic compatibility, tightness, and corrosion protection. The housing design is scalable and can be applied in various vehicle models.

Composite aluminum constructions are made with a combination of cast, profile, and sheet applied to the build of sub-frame structures in automotive engineering. In this context, KIRCHHOFF Automotive presents a weight optimized front axle carrier in an aluminum shell design that represents an economic lightweight solution for the series production of assembly components.

Already during the first two press days the automotive supplier will present its latest developments to highly ranked representatives from politics as well as from our customers. Among them Axel Müller, Director Corporate Procurement Volkswagen; Dr. Klaus Zehender, Member of the Directory Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars; Andreas Müllender, Executive Director Strategic Material Performance Opel Group as well as the Governor of  the US-State of Michigan, Rick Snyder and Brigitte Zypries, Federal German Minister of Economy and Energy.

Until the 24th of September KIRCHHOFF Automotive showcases at the IAA. Come by and visit us in Hall 5.1, booth B08. You will find further information by following this link