“With the GLA, the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant is producing a compact model for the first time proving its high flexibility. With the project ‘Innovation Factory’ we are shaping the future of production at Mercedes-Benz Cars. At the same time we are supporting our global production network by providing quickly additional capacities. Our employees contribute a major part with their long-term experience and a high level of motivation”, explains Michael Bauer.
The production of the compact SUV GLA at the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant, which is about 20 km away of the company headquarters in Stuttgart, marks the starting point for the pilot project ‘Innovation Factory’. Cutting-edge production technologies which feature the ‘Factory 56’, one of the most modern car productions, are tested previously in the ‘Innovation Factory’: from innovative Industry 4.0 solutions to a work organization with flexible working models, the project covers almost all aspects of a future-oriented production.
“We do have a highly qualified team that compensates order peaks of the GLA production. Thus Sindelfingen is proving its leading role as an innovation and competence center for new technologies. We, the works councils, are getting closer to our aim producing more vehicles in Sindelfingen. Our effort is to prepare the plant for future challenges and to ensure the employment. I am pleased, that our hard work paid off to make the location strong for the future”, says Ergun Lümali.
The GLA has been rolling off the production line at the Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant since 2013, and also at the Chinese production site of Beijing Benz Automotive Corporation (BBAC) in Beijing since 2015. Since the market launch of the GLA in 2014, more than 500,000 customers have already chosen the compact SUV. Rastatt, the lead plant for the GLA as well as for the A- and B-Class, is running at its full capacity. The production of the vehicle in Sindelfingen creates additional capacities until the end of the product life cycle. For the first time a compact vehicle with front-wheel drive is produced at the Sindelfingen plant, known as the center of competence for rear-wheel drive vehicles in the luxury and upper-range classes.
The GLA is characterized by its sportily dynamic design idiom, light-footed handling and extensive individualization range. As the first compact SUV from Mercedes-Benz it brought a breath of fresh air to its market segment and established itself there as a major player. In 2017 the GLA was most successful in the markets China, USA, Germany and Great Britain. The GLA portfolio meets all individual mobility requirements of its customers.
About the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant
The Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant is the center of competence for upper-range and luxury-class vehicles, and also the lead plant for the production of the S- and E-Class model series. This will also be the location for the prospective production of electric vehicles of the new EQ product and technology brand. Together with the central production organization of Mercedes-Benz Cars, the plant employs a workforce of more than 25,000. The site is the location for the production of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (Sedan and Estate), the CLS, the S-Class (Sedan, Coupé and Cabriolet), the Mercedes-Maybach and the Mercedes-AMG GT family. Around 250 vehicles a day are delivered at the Mercedes-Benz customer center in Sindelfingen.
“Digital, flexible, green” – latest production technologies are integrated at “Factory 56”. Main focus is on the people.
“Our ‘Factory 56’ will define a new way of building cars. With its ‘Factory 56’, Mercedes-Benz Cars is creating the car plant of the future. It combines three trend-setting features: It is consistently digital and flexible – and it brings the term ‘ green production’ to life. As the inventor of the car, we are reinventing production,” says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.
The foundation stone for the “Werk 56” production hall in the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen is laid by high-ranking representatives from politics and business.
Sindelfingen – Mercedes-Benz Cars presents its “Factory 56”, the world’s most modern car production. “Our ‘Factory 56’ will define a new way of building cars. With its ‘Factory 56’, Mercedes-Benz Cars is creating the car plant of the future. It combines three trend-setting features: It is consistently digital and flexible – and it brings the term ‘green production’ to life. As the inventor of the car, we are reinventing production,” says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.
To mark the laying of the cornerstone for the new assembly hall on 20th of February, high-ranking representatives from the worlds of politics and business came together at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen. Alongside Markus Schäfer, Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister of Economics, Work and Housing Construction of Baden-Württemberg, Dr. Bernd Vöhringer, Lord Mayor of the City of Sindelfingen, Michael Bauer, Site Manager of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant and Head of Production, as well as Ergun Lümali, Chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen Works Council, also took part in the celebrations.
Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut emphasized that the laying of the cornerstone is also an essential element for a good future of Baden-Württemberg as an automotive location: “The ‘Factory 56’ will bring together two global megatrends that are of crucial importance for our country in particular: the digitalization of production and vehicle models of the future.” Baden-Württemberg will only be able to defend its reputation as a premium location for industry in the long term and secure the country’s prosperity if the manufacturers provide the right answers in both fields, production and mobility of the future, she said. The task of the state would be to support this path by supporting innovation.
In 2020, the “Factory 56” will already start production of upper- and luxury-class cars and electric vehicles at the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant. Passenger cars, electric vehicles of the upper and luxury class and robo-taxis will be produced. These include the new generation of the S-Class as well as the first electric vehicle of the product and technology brand EQ “made in Sindelfingen”. For the construction site 700,000m3 earth was moved. The area is 220,000 m2. This corresponds to about 30 football pitches. Approximately 6,400 tons of steel are used for the steel construction – almost as much as for the Parisian Eiffel Tower.
“Factory 56” – latest production technologies in series
The production concept of the “Factory 56” is setting new standards. This includes man-machine-cooperations and digitally supported processes including work organization as well as logistics and quality assurance. The plant is not only digitised consistently according to Industry 4.0, it is also connected to other productions in the global production network.
The 360 degree linkage along the whole value chain is an essential feature – from the suppliers, through to the development department, design and our production and to our customers. In the future, for example, the finished vehicles shall drive off the line automated to the loading station. Under “Digital Anticipation” in the Mercedes me App and online, customers purchasing new vehicles can already today gain exclusive insights into the production of their vehicles and thus have a much more enjoyable wait for delivery.
In the assembly hall itself state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 technologies are used. Driverless transport systems (DTS) with product baskets support logistics in the assembly and ensure the seamless supply of the required materials for the employees at the line. Innovative Radio Frequency Identification-technologies (RFID) are integrated into the “Factory 56”. Components and vehicles can thus be digitally tracked and linked with one another.
Artificial Intelligence, Big Data analyses and Predictive Maintenance guarantee high transparency and support in production planning, control and also in quality assurance. Through the analysis of existing production data, for instance, predictions on potential faults or due maintenance work can be made in advance.
The human at the centre
The human is at the centre of all activities in the “Factory 56”. The employees work at ergonomically optimised workstations and are optimally supported in their tasks by digital tools. The focus is on the use of intelligent, flexible technology. A new work organisation provides for flexible and modern working time models. The break areas are designed according to the latest standards – for example with a pantry, couch and info screen.
“Factory 56” is sustainable and energy-efficient
Modular building structures are characteristic for the “Factory 56”, with a design that is both energy-efficient and green, so environmentally friendly. The assembly uses renewable energies and reduces CO2 production, water consumption and waste significantly.
On the roof of “Factory 56” there is a photovoltaic system which feeds green electricity into the productions supply. This leads to a reduction of yearly 5,000 MWh of electricity. An electric vehicle of the product and technology brand EQ, for example the electric SUV EQC, could be charged 72,000 times a year with this. That corresponds to around 36 million kilometres mileage a year. CO2 emissions at the “Factory 56″ will be reduced by 75 percent compared to today’s S-Class production in Sindelfingen.
The construction of the assembly hall is very translucent. The Blue Sky architecture supports a pleasant working climate for the employees in daylight. In addition, the temperature of the hall can be set at up to seven degrees below the outside temperature.
About Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations
Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations is responsible for passenger car production at over 30 locations around the world. Three of them are currently being established. Within a flexible and efficient production network with around 78,000 employees it includes the central functions of production planning, TECFACTORY, logistics, and quality. Mercedes-Benz Cars produced more than 2.4 million Mercedes-Benz and smart passenger cars last year, marking the seventh record in a row. The network is based on the product architectures of front-wheel drive (compact cars) and rear-wheel drive (for example the S-Class, E-Class, and C-Class) as well as the SUV and sports car architectures. In addition, there is a powertrain production compound (engines, transmissions, axles and components). Each of these production compounds is grouped around a lead plant that serves as a center of competence for the ramp-up of new products, technology and quality assurance. Mercedes-Benz Cars is ready for the electro mobility: Around the globe electro hubs are built for the production of electric vehicles and batteries. The focus of day-to-day work is on the continuous improvement and refinement of state-of-the-art production methods, which allow future high-tech vehicles to be produced in a way that is efficient, flexible and environmentally friendly, according to the typical Mercedes-Benz quality standards. All of this revolves around the employees and their expertise, whose work is systematically supported by ergonomic workplace design and intelligent automation. In addition to its own production plants, Mercedes-Benz is increasingly leveraging partnerships and utilizing capacities at contract manufacturers as part of its growth strategy.