Mercedes-Benz plant Sindelfingen starts production of the Compact SUV GLA

Mercedes-Benz-plant-Sindelfingen-starts-production-of-the-Compact-SUV-GLA
The ‘Innovation Factory‘ at the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant: the Site Manager of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant Michael Bauer (left) and Ergun Lümali, Chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen Works Council (right) are celebrating the start of production of the compact SUV GLA with the team.

“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.


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“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.

Source: Daimler Global Media Site

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Research campus ARENA2036 – The event “Tomorrow” provides an outlook on mobility and production of the future

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  • For the ARENA2036 research campus, the University of Stuttgart supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has constructed one of the world’s largest, most modern and most flexible research facilities for production and mobility.
  • In the research areas production and work as well as mobility in the context of digitisation, new ideas are being created for the cutting-edge scientific and technological developments of the day after tomorrow.
  • At the event “Tomorrow” 800 prominent guests from the sciences, industry and politics will be able to experience the future at the ARENA2036 research campus.
  • Part of the show will be panel discussions with EU Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, the Minister President of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, the Rector of the University of Stuttgart, Prof. Wolfram Ressel and the Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, as well as scientists and future researchers in the fields of mobility and production. 

Stuttgart. In the context of digitization in the automotive industry, the ARENA2036 research campus has become a lighthouse institution in the fields of production, work and the mobility of the future. ARENA2036 is the world’s largest and leading research campus for transformable production including functionally integrated lightweight construction. Approximately one year after moving into a state of the art building complex, and some five years after its formation, ARENA2036 will hold the two-day event “Tomorrow” on 22th of February 2018 to present the results and visions achieved to date: On invitation of Prof. Wolfram Ressel, Rector of the University of Stuttgart and Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, politicians, representatives of the automotive industry and scientists will discuss the production and mobility of the future with experts from various disciplines. These include Günther H. Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Winfried Kretschmann, Minister President of Baden-Württemberg, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Dr. Michael Bolle, Head of Research and Advance Engineering at Robert Bosch GmbH, and Bernd Becker, Chief Technology Strategist of automotive supplier FARO. Afterwards, ARENA2036 will give an insight into the four research areas of Production2036, Work2036 and Mobility2036 as well as Digitisation2036 as a cross-sectional topic. On the second day, 23 February, the exhibition will be open to the public.

“ARENA2036 not only strengthens the Stuttgart region and Germany as an industrial cluster with its inter-disciplinary research, but also ensures an optimal technology transfer with its innovative and pioneering model of cooperation under one roof. It is good to see so many guests coming to our research factory at the University of Stuttgart to witness the results from the first five years of fascinating shared effort”, Prof. Wolfram Ressel commented on the event referring to the positive experiences and results of the first phase in these joint projects.

“With their innovations, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz have started a mobility revolution all over the world. In Baden-Württemberg, we have great opportunities for innovation with a unique cluster of cutting-edge technologies that is unique in the world: suppliers, technology companies and automobile manufacturers. Nowadays, with digitisation profound changes are happening extremely fast. The global automotive industry therefore needs strong and unconventional answers to the visionary questions of mobility and the future of work. One of them is ARENA2036,” explained Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, and patron of ARENA2036.

Important meaning for Germany as a scientific and industrial location

At ARENA2036, 31 partners working under one roof on the Vaihingen campus of the University of Stuttgart, where they combine fundamental scientific research with industrial application. On some 10,000 sq. m. all partners are working on pre-competitive solutions, which they will eventually use in their own applications. The interplay between a wide range of disciplines and areas of expertise creates scope for innovative ideas. The event “Tomorrow” provides a unique insight into topics and projects of the partners.

“ARENA2036 shows in an exemplary way how a successful cooperation between university research institutions and the automotive industry can find innovative answers to the challenges of mobility of the future across industry boundaries,” said Minister President Winfried Kretschmann. “Politics can provide incentives for technological developments and promising networks. For this reason, for example, the state government has also initiated the strategic dialogue on the automotive industry in order to contribute its share to shaping the future of mobility.”

Dr. Georg Schütte, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, acknowledges ARENA2036 as an outstanding example for close and long-term collaboration between science and industry: “With the Research Campus Initiative, we are promoting a new type of strategic cooperation between science and industry at selected locations in Germany. In Stuttgart, the ARENA2036 research factory redesigns and implements the entire value chain of the fully digitised vehicle. In this way, the future of mobility and production will be fundamentally re-imagined. We consider this a groundbreaking model and will expand it to other areas of research as well.”


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ARENA2036 research campus: fast-moving development during the first project phase

ARENA2036 is sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the programme “Research campus – public and private partnership for innovations”. The BMBF supports the research campus, which was chosen by an independent jury, with up to two million euros annually over a period of up to 15 years.

ARENA2036 was already founded in 2013 by the following seven founding members: the University of Stuttgart, the German Institute for Textile and Fibre Research in Denkendorf, the German Centre for Aerospace, the Fraunhofer Society, Daimler AG, BASF SE and Robert Bosch GmbH. Since then, the number of partners has increased to 31 – from suppliers and IT service providers to automobile manufacturers and research institutes. Under the roof of ARENA2036, science and industry work hand in hand and inspire each other. In line with the motto “Industry on Campus”, the partners of ARENA2036 “join.create.move.”.

The research portfolio has developed at breakneck speed since 2013. Around 90 research projects have been initiated during this first sponsoring phase. Experts employed by the partners are now researching in a highly modern working environment. The construction cost of around 30 million Euros for the research campus was equally financed by the University of Stuttgart and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European Union. ARENA2036 will enter the second project phase this year. An initial outlook is given at the topic bays presented at the event.

Themed worlds – ARENA2036 researches into mobility, production, digitization and work

Peter Froeschle, General Manager of ARENA2036, finally took the guests into the future – illustrated by the four topic bays Production2036, Work2036 and Mobility2036 with Digitization2036 as cross-sectional topic. These are all interlinked, and have project-related interfaces. Within the individual research areas, interaction and the exchange of project results lead to new concepts, technologies and follow-up projects. The research and development for modern Industry 4.0 applications and intuitive technologies focusing on human beings also play an important role.

The research area Mobility2036 focusses on innovative, vehicle-related technologies – from the development of functionally integrated and intelligent components to future-oriented materials and connectivity for the customer. Vehicles of the future will be lighter in weight, consume less energy and consist of fewer components. Structures, functions and design will change. The focus is always on the needs of users. Current technology aspects such as connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing services and electric drive systems are the starting point for the future research activities of ARENA2036 in the area of Mobility2036. Fundamental research also provides a basis for the development of new mobility concepts.

Another research area of ARENA2036 is dedicated to fully digitise process chains and their simulation. All the stages are digitally represented, from component development and every production stage to the use of a vehicle by the customer. This means that data from each individual process step can be automatically transferred and used for improvements. In the future, intelligent components will therefore communicate with production machinery, employees and customers – so in the production environment of the day after tomorrow, all components, machines and employees will be connected. The aim is to predict impending challenges more rapidly, and to optimise the quality of processes and products. In this way digitisation and Big Data will become the drivers of innovation activities.

Communication between people and machines – with and amongst each other – is the subject matter of the research area Work2036. Artificial Intelligence will become the interface bringing two worlds together with different languages, and helps them to understand each other. Research into semantic inter-relationships will enable human knowledge to be linked to databases throughout the world. Particularly where information from other sectors is concerned, Artificial Intelligence will help people to select, transform and implement mobility and production research. Another research aspect of Work2036 covers the way in which we work together – more interactively, internationally and creatively.

The Production2036 area shows perspectives for future innovative production. The idea: The Industry 4.0 production comprises a modular structure with a wide range of workstations that are intelligently networked by sensors. Within the workstations, employees can flexibly combine different machines. In this way they can design their production environment themselves. They can arrange tools, robots and machines in accordance with their own needs and the continuously changing production program. In this way the workplace of the future will be more flexible and demand-related. Intelligent components will communicate with production machinery and employees, exchanging information within a virtual network.

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Mercedes-Benz Cars: World premier of the “Factory 56” – the most modern car production in the world

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Digital laying of the cornerstone at the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant (from left to right): Michael Bauer, Site Manager Mercedes-Benz Werks Sindelfingen plant and Head of Production, Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister of Economics, Work and Housing Construction of Baden-Württemberg, Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, Dr. Bernd Vöhringer, Lord Mayor of the City of Sindelfingen, and Ergun Lümali, Chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen Works Council.
  • “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.

Source: Daimler