»Factory 56 is not only a milestone in Daimler’s corporate history, but also an important commitment to Baden-Württemberg as a location for the mobility industry. The factory stands for state-of-the-art standards – both in production and in products. Digitization and decarbonization are top priorities. Probably no other product stands for this as much as the all-electric EQS, which will be produced here,« said Winfried Kretschmann, Minister President of Baden-Württemberg.
In total, Mercedes-Benz has invested approximately 2.1 billion euros since 2014 to create a future-oriented basis for the car plant and the administrative areas located there. Of this amount, about 730 million euros is accounted for by Factory 56, which is part of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant. The investments are a clear commitment to Germany as a business location and will also secure jobs in the region for the long term. At the same time, Factory 56 achieves efficiency gains of about 25 percent compared to the previous S-Class assembly. This has been made possible by optimizing the entire value-creation process.
The most important feature of Factory 56 is flexibility. On only one level, Factory 56 can perform all assembly steps for vehicles of different designs and drive systems – from conventional to all-electric drive. At first, the new generation of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan and long-wheelbase version will drive off the production line in Factory 56. Later, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class and the EQS, the first all-electric member of the new S-Class family, will also be produced on the same line. The assembly hall is 100 percent flexible, so that all Mercedes-Benz model series can be integrated into ongoing production in the shortest possible time, depending on demand – from compact vehicles to SUVs.
The assembly system of the future gives the entire production a more flexible structure. Two so-called TecLines serve to avoid fixed points in the assembly process, improving the flexibility of the entire factory. They bring together all the complex plant technologies at one point. This means that conversion work necessitated by the integration of new models, for example, is easier to carry out in the other areas of the assembly hall. In the TecLines, the traditional production line is replaced by driverless transport systems. To integrate a new product and incorporate any associated new technical equipment, it is only necessary to change the route of the automated guided vehicle (AGV). A total of more than 400 AGVs are in operation in Factory 56.
In addition, the so-called »Fullflex Marriage« sets a new standard for the process whereby the vehicle body is connected to the drive system. In Factory 56, this »marriage« consists of several modular stations and allows major conversion work and longer interruptions in production to be avoided.
Mercedes-Benz is also focusing on sustainability: the Factory 56 is to be completely CO2-neutral and have a significantly reduced energy requirement. This will be made possible, among other things, by an energy concept with a photovoltaic system, a direct current network and energy storage systems based on recycled vehicle batteries.