Mercedes-Benz Lays Cornerstone For World’s Most Modern Car Production Plant
22. February 2018 - Auto Tech Review
Mercedes-Benz Cars unveiled ‘Factory 56,’ which is claimed to be the world’s most modern car production facility, and has digitally-laid the cornerstone for this new assembly hall. Factory 56, internally called ‘Werk 56’ will be constructed at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, Germany.
Factory 56 will begin production of upper and luxury-class cars, as well as electric vehicles at from 2020, the company said.
Factory 56 will be spread across an area of 220,000 sq m, and manufacture models including the new-generation S-Class, and the first electric vehicle of the product and technology brand EQ. Mercedes-Benz said the production concept of Factory 56 is setting new standards through man-machine-cooperation and digitally-supported processes including work organisation, 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, it added.
The 360° connectivity along the whole value chain - from suppliers, development, design, production and customers is an essential feature of Factory 56. Under 'Digital Anticipation' in the Mercedes me App and online, customers can gain exclusive insights into the production of their vehicles and thus have a more engaging wait for delivery, noted the company.
The assembly hall makes use of driverless transport systems (DTS) with product baskets that support logistics in assembly, ensuring seamless supply of required materials at the line. Additionally, innovative RFID technologies are integrated into Factory 56, enabling digital tracking and linking of components and vehicles with one another. The factory also utilises Artificial Intelligence, Big Data analysis and Predictive Maintenance, which would guarantee high transparency and support in production planning, control and quality assurance.
The company noted that the human is at the centre of all activities in Factory 56. Employees will work at ergonomically-optimised workstations, and are supported in their tasks by digital tools. The focus is on the use of intelligent, flexible technology, and a new work organisation provides for flexible and modern working time models, said Mercedes-Benz.
Factory 56 is also said to be sustainable and energy-efficient, with the use of renewable energies, reduced CO2 production, as well as lower water consumption and waste output. The roof of the plant will be equipped with a photovoltaic system that will feed green electricity into the productions supply, leading to a reduction of 5,000 MWh of electricity per year. In addition, CO2 emissions at Factory 56 will be reduced by 75 % when compared to the current S-Class production in Sindelfingen.
Markus Schäfer, Member, Divisional Board, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, said '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 by combining three trend-setting features – digital, flexible and green production, he added. Schäfer said, "As the inventor of the car, we are reinventing production."