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English   100 years: Mercedes-Benz Mannheim
11.10.2008 von admin


Continual investments safeguard competitiveness

The Group continued to invest regularly in the Mannheim plant. In 1984, for example, 80 million marks were spent equipping the bus plant for the future. This involved creating a final assembly facility for coaches and regular service buses, unique in bus construction, with transport on two levels, adjacent pre-assembly bays and assembly-line parts supply, as well as order-related materials procurement. The goal of all this was to create leaner workflows and at the same time create the capacity to react with greater flexibility to specific customer requirements. It spoke volumes for the advanced design of the facility that final assembly workstations for the O 303 touring coach and regular service and interurban buses were integrated into a continuous production process, whereas many other manufacturers were still pushing bodies from one workstation to the next on trestles. A bus produced at Mannheim went through around 50 assembly stations before it was finally finished.

Continuous modernization of the Mannheim plant also included the regular introduction of new production methods. For example, in 1986 the foundry’s “hot box” approach was finally replaced by the “cold box” process, in order to improve working conditions for employees. The “cold box” process considerably reduced problems with heat and odors in the foundry; partial automation also reduced some of the more unpleasant manual tasks.

Eco-friendly water-soluble paint technology
In 1990, the company installed a new paint process at the Mannheim plant, cataphoretic dip priming, the first such system in Germany to be used for buses. As a result, bus products now entered the age of eco-friendly water-soluble paint technology. The paint used was made up of 80 percent water, the remaining 20 percent being solid particulates, in other words anti-corrosion pigments and binding agents; organic solvent content was cut to one or two percent, which meant that solvent emissions were also reduced accordingly - one of the principal reasons for moving over to water-soluble paint technology. The total investment was put at 35 million deutschmarks.

Demands of the market obliged Mannheim to undertake an enlargement of the cataphoretic dip priming facility in 1999. The existing paint shop was restricted to buses up to 12.5 meters in length, and yet bus operators were increasingly ordering longer vehicles. The new facility was able to accommodate body shells and chassis up to 15 meters in length, including therefore triple-axle buses. The facility had an annual capacity of over 5,000 vehicles. EvoBus invested around 10 million deutschmarks in the redevelopment.

In the course of the EvoBus production combine, today, the raw state coaches of all Mercedes-Benz and Setra busses exclusively are manufactured in Mannheim and undercoated in the KTL plant there in the center shell of the bus work. The Kathodische dip varnishing guarantees a complete Korossion protection since complete bus state coaches can be dipped up to 15 m of length into this and coated with a continuous varnish film.


The photo shows Integro the diving event at a country bus of the type Mercedes-Benz in the KTL plant.

Birth of a new company: EvoBus
Anfang 1995, genau 100 Jahre nach der Fertigung des ersten Omnibusses durch Carl Benz und der Aufnahme eines Omnibus-Linienverkehrs zwischen Siegen, Netphen und Deuz, entsteht ein neues Unternehmen im Konzern: Die beiden Marken Mercedes-Benz Omnibusse und Setra, seit 1995 zu Daimler-Benz gehörend, finden unter dem Dach der EvoBus GmbH zusammen, zuständig für das Omnibusgeschäft des Konzerns in Europa. Künftig sorgt ein Produktionsverbund mehrerer Standorte für eine effiziente und kostengünstige Herstellung. Das Tochterunternehmen der damaligen Daimler-Benz AG soll sich als Erfolgsgeschichte erweisen: 2005, zehn Jahre nach der Gründung von EvoBus, gibt es einen Produktionsverbund mit fünf Standorten in vier Ländern, 16 Tochtergesellschaften in den großen Märkten Europas sowie die gemeinsame Dienstleistungsmarke OMNIPlus mit 42 eigenen Servicecentern und 26 Gebrauchtfahrzeug-Centern.


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