“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.
Analysis and prediction of user behaviour with the aid of artificial intelligence
EQ Ready App already on the German market
Stuttgart/Tel Aviv – Daimler AG is intensifying its cooperation with the start-up Anagog Ltd. Daimler has participated in a financing round together with MizMaa Ventures, a venture capital company located in California. Based in Tel Aviv, Anagog has developed software which analyses user behavior directly in the mobile phone with the aid of the various on-handset sensors, and on the basis of artificial intelligence it predicts future movement scenarios.
Through this data analysis the mobile handset understands what the user is doing and the environment in which they are located. This means that various contextual services can be generated to improve the user experience. Anagog’s patented technology changes the rules of the game when it comes to using artificial intelligence on mobile phones and other wearables, without the aid of any backend servers.
“We want to make the best digital services available not just to our customers, but to all mobile phone owners. We are improving every digital touchpoint in the mobility behaviour of our customers and thus increasing their independence”, says Sabine Scheunert, Vice President of Digital and IT for Marketing & Sales Mercedes-Benz Cars. “With the investment in Anagog we are a big step closer to achieving this goal. This step also fits with the strategic approach taken by Daimler AG in investing in appropriate start-ups and supporting them as they grow.”
A significant advantage of the Anagog development “JedAI SDK” (Software Development Kit) here is the high data and privacy protection which grants the users full control over their data, as no data transfer to a backend server is required.
Anagog was founded in 2010 and in 2017 it participated in the start-up programme ‘The Bridge’ supported by Mercedes-Benz. The first joint development has already been on the German market since September 2017 in the form of the EQ Ready App. This app helps motorists decide whether it makes sense for them personally to switch to an electric car or hybrid. The smartphone app can record real journeys made by the user and compare it with numerous parameters of electric and hybrid vehicles. This makes it possible to try out e-mobility in a virtual yet realistic way. The EQ Ready app also recommends which electric or hybrid car model from smart or Mercedes-Benz best matches the user’s individual needs.
HERE HD Live Map constantly publishes changes to the map through an innovative content validation process, where multiple vehicle sensors act as a “closed loop” to detect any deviations from the published data.
Amsterdam/Stuttgart – Daimler and HERE Technologies have teamed up to make HERE HD Live Map an integral part of Daimler’s autonomous driving technology. With these efforts both companies are laying the ground work for upcoming generations of highly automated and autonomous Mercedes-Benz vehicles* to come to market with the benefits of HD Live Map on board. For Daimler, this is a logical step as the current E- and S-class models are already using maps from HERE.
Highly precise digital maps are a key component for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving. The machine-readable, cloud-based HD Live Map allows an automated vehicle to effectively ‘see around corners’ and consists of multiple layers of information essential for it to know where exactly it is, what lies ahead and what it should do in various scenarios.
Maps from cars for cars: self-healing maps require large amounts of vehicle sensor data
HERE has created HD Live Map to be “self-healing”. This means it can reflect dynamic changes in the road environment and update itself accordingly in near real-time. This enables vehicles to proactively adjust to changing road conditions – for example, switching lanes and adjusting speed ahead of time in the case of an upcoming lane closure.
Vehicle sensor data is the most crucial element for an HD map to self-heal because of its quality, and the sheer volume of vehicles on the road that can detect and validate change. HERE is already receiving rich vehicle sensor data from multiple automakers, including Daimler, to produce near real-time map updates. With passenger safety top of mind, HERE HD Live Map constantly publishes changes to the map through an innovative content validation process, where multiple vehicle sensors act as a “closed loop” to detect any deviations from the published data.
“The map of the future is one that’s self-healing – constantly updating to mirror what is happening across the road network” said Ralf Herrtwich, SVP Automotive at HERE Technologies. “Together with Daimler, we are mastering this powerful mapping technology and are truly excited to make it available for the next generations of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.”
Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, emphasized: “Maps with centimeter precision updating itself in near real-time, is one key element for autonomous driving. With the new HD Live Map and the rich, continuously growing information it provides we are taking a big step on the way towards autonomous driving.”
*Vehicles with level 3-5 automation, as defined by SAE International.
“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.
Mercedes-Benz offers worldwide training courses for suppliers at the Mercedes-Benz Supplier Academy.
The project is the result of an entrepreneurial spirit of Mercedes-Benz employees in a worldwide cooperation.
More than 1400 participants from nearly 500 suppliers already took part in the training program during the year 2017.
Dr. Klaus Zehender, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Procurement and Supplier Quality: “The Mercedes-Benz Supplier Academy is a great opportunity, especially for start-ups and new suppliers without experience in the automotive industry.”
Stuttgart. Since the beginning of last year, Mercedes-Benz has been offering suppliers a special learning program. The Supplier Academy trains suppliers on topics such as quality assurance, processes and the requirements of Mercedes-Benz. There is no real building. The Supplier Academy is flexible and available worldwide – in the local language and directly with local suppliers in the US, Mexico, China or Europe. All suppliers can participate, regardless if they already work with Mercedes-Benz. “The Mercedes-Benz Supplier Academy is a great opportunity, especially for start-ups and new suppliers without experience in the automotive industry. For us in the procurement and supplier quality department of Mercedes-Benz, it is a valuable opportunity to ensure top quality for our vehicles from new players and to strengthen cooperation with existing suppliers. This is a win-win situation”, says Dr. Klaus Zehender, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Procurement and Supplier Quality. In the training courses, native-speaking trainers teach a maximum of 15 participants the expectations, procedures and standards of the Mercedes-Benz supplier management. This facilitates an efficient and successful entry into the cooperation. In 2017, more than 1400 participants from nearly 500 suppliers already participated in the program, which Mercedes-Benz runs together with its external partner German Automotive Business (GAB). This kind of training takes place almost every day somewhere in the world.
Founder’s vision within the company
The idea for the Mercedes-Benz Supplier Academy came from employees who are responsible for purchasing and supplier quality. “We at Mercedes-Benz have an increasing number of local suppliers worldwide whom we want to prepare for the top quality of Mercedes-Benz. Together with our colleagues at foreign purchasing locations, we have turned this idea into a successful project”, says Christoph Kania, one of the project initiators from Supplier Quality Management. Starting with the smallest possible effort and without any investment, the idea grew steadily through the interest of the suppliers.
Expansion to other areas planned
The initiative of his employees encourages purchasing manager Klaus Zehender: “The entrepreneurial spirit of our buyers and quality managers shows that they recognize challenges and find practical solutions.” So far, only one area of Mercedes-Benz’s purchasing department has been included in the training: quality assurance. Christoph Kania and his colleagues are planning to extend the offer of the Supplier Academy together with other departments. So other specialist areas such as logistics, development and IT systems could be on the timetable soon. To motivate even more suppliers to participate, online training courses are planned as well.
Via their personalised access to Mercedes me, new car customers in Germany are able to follow the production status of their ordered Mercedes-Benz car in real time.
Digitalisation in the Mercedes-Benz plants allows the use of production data for a new brand experience and offers interactive services.
Stuttgart – People spend 374 days of their lives “waiting” for something. During the waiting time between ordering their Mercedes-Benz and taking delivery, Mercedes enthuse their customers by digital means.
A new tool within “Mercedes me” makes it possible after ordering the desired vehicle to track its production status online from the comfort of your own home, or while travelling: Between the ordering and delivery time, Mercedes-Benz offers new car buyers in Germany exclusive insights into the production of their Mercedes-Benz car in real time, so as to heighten the “Joyful Anticipation”. The new service from Mercedes me at http://mercedes.me/production is a very special brand experience on a PC, tablet or smartphone. “Joyful Anticipation” is already available for vehicles in production in the German Mercedes-Benz car plants in Sindelfingen (CLS, CLS Shooting Brake, E- and S-Class), Rastatt (A- and B-Class, GLA) and in Kecskemét (B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake) in Hungary. Shortly “Joyful Anticipation” will also become available for models from the German Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen (C-Class Sedan, Estate, Coupé, Cabriolet; E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet, GLC, GLC Coupé, SL, SLC). The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa (USA) is still following this year in which SUVs for the German market are running off the line.
Customers in Germany concluding a sales contract in Germany for a new Mercedes-Benz car receive a flyer about “Joyful Anticipation”. Using their personal Mercedes me account, customers can log-in and input their ordered vehicle using the order number. In addition to information about the vehicle, they receive an insight into different production stages – from production planning, body shop, painting, assembly and quality control to completion and planned delivery. In addition, interactive services such as a tailor-made Mercedes me car insurance with special terms, or vouchers with special offers, for example for a driving training, enhance the attractiveness of “Joyful Anticipation”.
“Joyful Anticipation” consists of four areas, “Welcome”, “Your Vehicle”, “Your Production” and “Your Handover”, which are configured completely individually for the customer and vehicle. The aim is to give the customer an individual, exciting, digital brand experience even during the waiting time for the ordered vehicle. In the “Your Vehicle” section, the customer is given all the relevant information relating to the ordered vehicle. In the “Your Production” section, the customer finds out everything about the individual production stages for the ordered vehicle with real-time tracking. The multimedia content provides an entertaining insight into the manufacture of a Mercedes-Benz car, ranging from the production location to the production processes and the final inspection. Following vehicle completion, the customer can find out all he/she needs to know about the vehicle handover.
Networking the entire value added chain in real time is already more than just a vision for Mercedes-Benz. And the focus here is always on the potential and actual customer. The status of every vehicle in the Mercedes-Benz car plants is reported to the production network. These data are used for production planning and control. The new service of Mercedes me now likewise accesses these vehicle data.
The digital mobility and service brand Mercedes me creates individualised access to the world of Mercedes-Benz. This goes well beyond the car itself, offering an integrated system of products, services and innovations.
Since its introduction, “Joyful Anticipation” has not only been enthusiastically received by customers. The service was honoured with coveted prizes, e.g. the German Online Communication Awards (“Deutscher Preis für Onlinekommunikation”) and “Best of Best” winner in the Automotive Brand Contest.
With the digitalisation of our production the prerequisite for this innovative digital service has been made and will be expanded. A vision of the future is that the customer will be able to assign changes to the equipment and even further customization after the purchase order.
*The service is presently available for customers in Germany only
Operators to benefit from low total-cost-of-ownership, reliable performance, proven BS-IV technology.
Mr. Markus Villinger, Managing Director Daimler Buses India: “We designed the all-new BharatBenz intercity coach to take inter-city travel to the next level: a safer and more comfortable experience for passengers and drivers, and more value for operators at the same time. Building on our acceptance in the market and this strong product with proven BS-IV technology, we are very confident to capture opportunities in this growing segment.”
Chennai – Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), the wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler AG, continues its product offensive to further expand the product portfolio of its BharatBenz brand. As per plan and as announced in 2015 with the start of the company’s bus business, the all-new BharatBenz intercity coach completes the brand’s bus line-up. Targeted at the growing segment of inter-city travel, the 16-tonne, 238 hp (175 kW) front-engine coach complements BharatBenz’ successful portfolio of school, staff and tourist buses in the 9-tonne category, which have been available since the end of 2015.
Speaking at the launch event, Mr. Markus Villinger, Managing Director Daimler Buses India said: “We designed the all-new BharatBenz intercity coach to take inter-city travel to the next level: a safer and more comfortable experience for passengers and drivers, and more value for operators at the same time. Building on our acceptance in the market and this strong product with proven BS-IV technology, we are very confident to capture opportunities in this growing segment.”
Crafted for passenger comfort
With its optimized wheelbase, the 12-meter BharatBenz intercity coach ensures best-in-class cabin space distribution for easy seating, offering 790 mm of legroom for passengers. Refined interiors and wider windows provide for a relaxed journey with panoramic views. The front and rear air suspensions are calibrated with chassis performance to minimize impacts of road undulations. Overall, the vehicle also offers low levels of noise, vibration and harshness thanks to its unique open saloon design which enhances acoustic insulation despite a front mounted engine. A powerful air conditioner with engine driven compressor assures not only a pleasant cabin environment for passengers but also a less fatiguing workplace for drivers, helping them to stay alert.
Built for safer travel
The BharatBenz intercity coach adopts a holistic approach towards safety and is fitted with a comprehensive range of seamlessly integrated active and passive safety features. The robust aluminique body meets the stringent safety standards for roll over as per the AIS-031 CMUR Bus Body Code. Fabricated without any welded parts, the lightweight structure not only gives extra strength to the vehicle but also lowers its centre of gravity. This provides extra stability to the vehicle and drastically reduces chances of toppling. The wider brake lining (410 x 220 for all four tyres) guarantees effective braking leading to a better braking distance. With regard to interiors, the vinyl flooring comes with an anti-skid top layer and fire retardant materials which are carefully designed to ensure a safe walkway for passengers in case of emergency situations.
Designed to meet operators’ requirements
With a focus on higher profitability for bus operators, the BharatBenz intercity coach is designed for lower cost of ownership. The vehicle body’s unique aluminique structure considerably lowers its gross vehicle weight, while the aerodynamic body design and tubeless tyres reduce drag and rolling resistance, altogether improving fuel efficiency. The coach also offers unmatched oil change and gearbox oil change intervals of 100,000 km. The extended warranty that BharatBenz offers for all its vehicles nationwide is also available. As a unique BharatBenz feature, annual maintenance packages are offered that cover both the body and chassis, ensuring optimum maintenance.
Proven BS-IV technology with SCR
BharatBenz BS-IV vehicles meet the upgraded norms using a system based on SCR technology proven in hundreds of thousands of Daimler commercial vehicles in many markets for over a decade. Besides the further improved fuel economy and lower maintenance costs, SCR technology allows BharatBenz BS-IV vehicles to operate unhampered with BS-III fuel, if required. The SCR technology uses an aqueous urea-based fluid called AdBlue, which is sprayed into the exhaust stream to break down dangerous nitrogen oxides emissions into harmless nitrogen and water. AdBlue consumption is only a fraction of fuel consumption, so refill intervals are fewer. AdBlue is available nationwide at all BharatBenz dealerships and other outlets.
About Daimler Buses India
Responsible for DICV’s bus business, Daimler Buses India is catering to the domestic market with a twofold strategy: BharatBenz front-engine buses and coaches meet the needs of the volume segment, while the premium segment is addressed with Mercedes-Benz rear-engine coaches. All vehicles are produced at DICV’s state-of-the-art plant in Oragadam near Chennai. Customer services for both brands are provided through the pan-Indian BharatBenz dealer network, offering tailor-made service packages, 24×7 after-sales support, and advanced interactive vehicle diagnosis. Custom-tailored financing solutions are provided by Daimler Financial Services India and through DICV’s partnership with over 25 banks and NBFC (Non-banking Financing Companies).