Mercedes-Benz has invested €900,000 ($990,000) in upgrading its EvoBus minibus assembly plant in Dortmund, Germany.
The modernisation and expansion project includes five new cutting, grinding and welding cabins along with an extended logistics area for storing dismantled components during the assembly process. The vehicle maker said that combined, the cabins and logistics area would help reduce production time for each body shell by 15%.
The cabins, which are 50 sq.m each, can be adapted to cycle sequence and production demand, and have roll-up gates at both ends to make entrance and exit of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter – used as the base for minibus conversions – more efficient.
The dismantling stage of the production process is upstream of the cabins and is designed to remove parts that would otherwise pose an obstacle to the work on the body shell. According to the company, the dismantled components – such as radiator grilles, front headlamps, exterior mirrors and tail lights – are held in storage for the duration of the body shell work in a new 450 sq.m storage facility directly adjoining the assembly line. It contains 76 compartments arranged on three levels. The extended logistics area also accommodates drive shafts, bumpers, large steel parts and the materials supply for body shell operations.
"The new cutting, grinding and welding cabins represent an important investment in the future of our minibus plant,” said Steffen Hoffmann, CFO of EvoBus. “In this way, we are further optimising the production facilities and processes for both body shell 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".
The Dortmund plant produces four minibus models: Sprinter Transfer, Sprinter Travel, Sprinter City and Sprinter Mobility.
Mercedes-Benz minibuses have been developed and produced at the EvoBus plant since 2001 and, as part of Daimler’s wider global bus business, EvoBus is responsible for the European bus market.