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An ambitious roadmap: Mercedes-Benz Vans counts on innovative complexity management

Use Cases | By PR RFID & Wireless IoT Global | 06 March 2018
The use of RFID relieves employees of routine tasks and at the same time gives them the security of having installed the right parts through automatic testing. The use of RFID relieves employees of routine tasks and at the same time gives them the security of having installed the right parts through automatic testing. Photo: Mercedes-Benz Vans

RFID parts identification is the first building block of an initiative consisting of 20 digitization projects

An ambitious roadmap: By 2025, Mercedes-Benz Vans wants to complete a digital transformation of all their production sites. The goal: Managing the complexity emerging from an increased variety of models while optimising the flexibility and efficiency of the supply chain and manufacturing. The division of Daimler will spend over 200 million Euros over the next 8 years on its digitization projects. In an interview with RFID & Wireless IoT Global, Michael Trunschke, Mercedes-Benz Vans, and Holger Seidel, Fraunhofer IFF, talk about the RFID parts identification solution at the Ludwigsfelde plant – one of the first implemented building blocks and a strategic step towards intelligent production at Mercedes-Benz Vans.

More transparency despite greater variety

Vehicles are increasingly becoming more individualised. Automobile manufacturing is fast approaching lot sizes of one – for passenger cars as well as for transporters. RFID project lead Michael Trunschke explains the increasing complexity of the worldwide Mercedes-Benz Vans production process: “There are 68 types of exterior mirrors alone, and once the new Sprinter model starts production, there will be nearly 100. For seats, the new model will expand the options by twenty percent.” These two example component groups illustrate the challenges for the production planners at Mercedes-Benz Vans when it comes to enabling a transparent manufacturing process.

The project started with an Industry 4.0 checkup

Holger SeidelHolger Seidel “All production processes must be transparent at all times – down to the level of every single part,” explains Holger Seidel, who led the team from Fraunhofer IFF supporting the Ludwigsfelde plant with a comprehensive Industry 4.0 checkup. “This transparency requires deploying an ideal combination of technology and IT. From here on forward, no application can be considered just by itself. The key elements for intelligent production are the combination of different technologies and the connection of data across processes and companies.”

Holger Seidel elaborates: “The checkup followed the principle 'I can't control what I can't identify'. This led to various recommended actions. For the identification of parts and documentation of assembly, RFID emerged as the best solution.”

Intensive preliminary studies for RFID use

The first phase of the checkup began in 2014 and focused on the definition of processes, the suitability of various technologies, and establishing a cost-benefit analysis. In the second phase, the solution was defined for specific processes with regards to their possible ROI. The next step was assessing its feasibility: ...

This article is part of the next issue of RFID & Wireless IoT Global published in the next days. Download your personal digital copy of the magazine and gain exclusive insight into more use cases and the potential of RFID & Wireless IoT technologies for process optimisation in different industries.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 06 March 2018 12:45
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