Ferrari’s factory is part-human and part-machine. To create the iconic vehicles the skills of people are combined with the precision of automation
This is the factory where Ferraris are born. Housed in the location originally chosen by company founder Enzo Ferrari in 1947, the 165,000-square-metre plant, in Maranello, Italy, produces 8,400 cars a year and employs 1,300 workers. Every car that has ever borne the famous Prancing Horse was painstakingly assembled here – and Ferrari wouldn’t have it any other way.
Every Ferrari takes three months to complete. The first and most critical stage is the casting of the engine, which takes place in the plant’s in-house foundry. The completed parts are then delivered to the assembly line, where 147 engines are hand-built every day.
Once the engine is completed, two robots connect the Ferraris’ valve mechanics – this is the only part of the process not done by hand. “The robots work so closely together that we call them Romeo and Juliet,” says Vincenzo Regazzoni, the company’s chief manufacturing officer.
To mark its 70th anniversary, Ferrari invited BigBagBlog inside to watch the key stages of the manufacturing process, from start to finish.
Technicians in the 21,000m2 Maranello line attach mechanical parts to the inside of each Ferrari, such as this 488 GTB, before adding wheels, bumpers and windscreens. Once the car reaches the end of the line, the interiors are installed and the engine is tested.
V8 engine assembly
The V8 assembly line consists of 32 stations; employees each work on one phase of the process. Ferrari’s V8 engines are assembled separately to V12s – the latter are more complex and require additional human attention, so get their own line.
GTC4Lusso T V8
This is a V8 engine destined for a Ferrari GTC4Lusso T, a four-seater model that has rear-wheel drive, as opposed to all-wheel drive. Aimed at urban drivers, the engine isn’t as loud as the larger V12, but it has been tuned to produce a similarly appealing sound.
Each car frame (this is a 488 Spider) is held by an individual mechanical lift, made from steel hooks. These are used to move the car from one station to another, rotating the chassis and automatically adjusting it to the height appropriate to the task.
The doors of all Ferraris are made from aluminium, and are pressed and cut at the Scaglietti factory in nearby Modena, 22km from Ferrari’s main facility. The doors are only attached to a completed car body once it has reached the end of the production line.
This is where the engine, transmission and suspension systems are mounted on to the cars’ underbodies. The engine is removed from the automatic guided vehicle (AGV) that has transported it through the production line, and attached to the car body.
Two robots, Romeo and Juliet, fuse the valve seats that will go into the engines – a job too intricate for humans. Romeo picks up cylinder heads and warms them with compressed air; Juliet dips aluminium rings into liquid nitrogen. The parts are then joined together.