Mercedes-Benz MiniBus GmbH is modernising and expanding its production and logistics facilities at the plant in Dortmund. Some 900,000 euros ($995,000) have been invested for this purpose in five new cutting, grinding and welding cabins as well as in expansion of the logistics area for dismantling operations. Alongside the expansion of production, there was a special focus on modernising the production facilities and optimising the processes. The new measures will make it possible to reduce the production time for each bodyshell by 15%.
Steffen Hoffmann, CFO of EvoBus GmbH: “The new cutting, grinding and welding cabins represent an important investment in the future of our minibus plant. In this way, we are further optimising the production facilities and processes for both bodyshell and logistics and are getting ourselves into shape for our future growth. We are thus securing the long-term competitiveness of our minibus business and the Dortmund plant”.
State-of-the-art bodyshell production cabins
The five new bodyshell production cabins for minibuses have been in operation since mid-April. With a volume of 250 cubic metres, each of the 50 square metre cabins provides sufficient space for the bodyshell operations on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, the base vehicle for the minibus range. Roll-up gates at both ends of the cabins allow the vehicles to enter and leave in a speedy and practical manner. In addition, three of the five cabins are arranged in line and can be split in a ratio of two to one thanks to the roll-up gates. This allows the facility to be flexibly adapted to the current production needs, the required cycle sequence and level of capacity utilisation.
Air pollution control in the cabins during the cutting, grinding and welding operations is ensured by a separate intake/exhaust air system, which ensures up to 61 full air exchanges per hour and cleans the exhaust air using particulate and pocket-type filters. The system also controls the temperature of the fresh air into the cabins. Even at outside temperatures of minus 10°C, it is possible to provide a consistent ambient temperature of 22°C in the cabins.
Four lateral longitudinal lighting strips at ceiling and ground level produce strong, uniform and dazzle-free illumination of the production cabins.
Extended logistics area for dismantling operations
Upstream of the cutting, grinding and welding cabins is the production step known as “dismantling”. This is where those components of the base vehicles are dismantled that would otherwise pose an obstacle to the downstream work on the bodyshell. The dismantled components, such as radiator grilles, front headlamps, exterior mirrors and tail lights, are held in storage for the duration of the bodyshell work in a new, directly adjoining storage facility with an area of 450 square metres and containing 76 compartments arranged on three rack levels. The extended logistics area also accommodates drive shafts, bumpers, large steel parts and the materials supply for bodyshell operations.
About Mercedes-Benz minibuses
The Mercedes-Benz minibus programme is based on long-life and rugged volume-production technology that routinely incorporates the latest developments from Mercedes-Benz van and bus manufacturing. Spread across the four model series of Sprinter Transfer, Sprinter Travel, Sprinter City and Sprinter Mobility, the minibus base vehicles, body and attachments are produced entirely under the Mercedes-Benz brand. This means that the customer purchases a complete vehicle from a single source.