August 10, 2022

Mercedes Alabama plant among world’s first to use innovative production system

Mercedes-Benz US International (MBUSI) in Tuscaloosa is one of the first automotive plants in the world to implement elements of Mercedes’ new MO360 digitized production system

Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations 360 (MO360) is dubbed a “digital ecosystem” that uses a mix of software and hardware in all phases of the automotive production process with the aim of improving efficiency and quality.

Mercedes-Benz Alabama factory incorporating Alabama NewsCenter’s new digital production system on Vimeo.

Using technologies such as sensors on vehicle bodies, tablets and wearable smartphones, MO360 is a fusion of modern innovations such as Internet of Things (IOT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) with innovation assembly line history.

Jörg Burzer is a member of the Management Board of Mercedes-Benz AG, responsible for production and supply chain management. (contributed)

“With MO360, Mercedes-Benz is setting milestones in digital production,” said Jörg Burzer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG responsible for production and supply chain management. “The main enablers of the new digital ecosystem are the intelligent use of data, maximum transparency and streamlined processes. This makes the seamless networking of previously separate processes possible and increases efficiency.

“With improved processes, full data availability in our MO360 data lake, and fast decisions based on real-time data, we will be able to increase production efficiency by more than 15% by 2022. “Burzer said. “We provide full digital support to every member of the production staff.”

Key components of MO360 include:

  • Digital Shopfloor Management (SFMdigital) which allows managers to see live production status at all times, enabling rapid reaction to production and control issues.
  • Quality Live is a management system that provides push-button access to the live status of each vehicle. It uses AI to constantly “learn” better ways to improve the quality and efficiency of the production process. The stored knowledge is available to all plants in the global Mercedes production network.
  • Paperless Factory uses digital technology to give each employee personalized information to work on the Mercedes-Benz vehicle in front of them. This decision will save Mercedes tons of paper previously used in production.
  • Smart Maintenance is an application that enables predictive plant maintenance. This will allow equipment to be repaired or replaced more quickly to avoid long and costly downtime.
  • Auto SC will be used in the future to optimize logistics processes between and within factories.

The Alabama Mercedes factory integrated most of the elements of the MO360.

“Parts of MO360 – such as digital shop floor management (SFMdigital), Quality Live and Paperless Factory – are already implemented,” said Michael Goebel, president and CEO of MBUSI. “The integration of MO360 is already progressing extremely well. Certain functionalities, such as 5G and the API (Application Programming Interface) architecture, are successively integrated.

The Mercedes-Benz MO360 digital production ecosystem uses Digital Shopfloor Management (SFMdigital) for quick and targeted access to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) related to production and control. (contribution)

Technologically, MO360 relies on reusable APIs, scalable cloud solutions, and free and open source software (FOSS). The result is ease of use for the tech-savvy new worker who feels comfortable using a smartphone or tablet.

Jan Brecht is CIO of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz. (contributed)

“A key success factor for MO360 is that cross-functional teams of production and IT experts develop the ecosystem through agile and iterative collaboration,” said Jan Brecht, CIO of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz. “Organizational boundaries no longer have a role to play. All teams systematically use continuous feedback from production to optimize and improve digital tools. Teams continually improve the software in short-cycle sprints with the goal of providing MO360 users with lasting perceptible benefits. In this way, we are able to achieve regular software release cycles of only two weeks. For software engineering in the production area, this is an all-time high.

Burzer said the MO360 system will be made available to suppliers who wish to integrate it into their processes. He said the company’s $248.2 million global logistics center in Bibb County will incorporate MO360.

It’s another sign of the talented workforce that exists in Alabama.

“MBUSI has been one of Alabama’s great success stories, so it’s no surprise that they’re once again part of the industry-leading production innovations that Mercedes-Benz is implementing globally,” said said Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield.

The MO360 is used for the first time in its entirety in the new factory 56 in Sindelfingen, Germany. When it opens next month, this plant will serve as a model for all plants in the Mercedes-Benz Cars production network.

MBUSI produces the GLS and GLE SUVs and the GLE coupé.

Mercedes-Benz launches MO360 Global Digital Production System from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.