First new Mercedes-Benz Actros rolls off the production line

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 21 May 2019

The first new Mercedes-Benz Actros in sapphire-blue next to its predecessor (in silver) and its predecessor before (in red).

At the Mercedes-Benz plant in Worth, a sapphire-blue Actros 1851 LS 4x2 became the first customer vehicle to roll off the production line. The milestone moment comes five years after the plant started intensive preparations for the new Actros along the product development process using state-of-the-art technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR).

The assembly of the vehicle was simulated on the basis of digital models in a special VR room in order to realise the production process in an optimal way. Around 50 projects with suppliers, also initiated by the Worth Supplier Management experts, were started early on in order to implement smoothly the new systems and technologies contained in the vehicle at the start of production.

Together with all other series of the plant, the new Actros runs flexibly, depending on the customer's order, over one and the same assembly line. In order to deal with the further increased complexity, a large number of adjustments and innovations were also made in the assembly itself. The new Multimedia Cockpit of the Actros required a significant spatial expansion of the cockpit pre-assembly. Furthermore, comprehensive adjustments were made in the area of testing and commissioning technology and new test benches were implemented, where the employees individually calibrate every single MirrorCam – which replaces the conventional exterior mirrors in the new Actros standardly.

In preparation for the new Actros' significantly increased functions over those of its predecessor extensive qualification concepts have been developed. Over 1,100 employees from Worth were intensively trained to be optimally prepared for the start-up of the new truck and to pass on their knowledge later as multipliers. Appropriate training courses have been held in the work preparation workshop, in technical training and further education as well as directly on site at the assembly line.

Ergonomics also played an important role when planning the production processes. Each individual work step was carefully examined in advance – all with the aim of optimally designing the production conditions for the employees. For example, electrical connectors that connect the cab to the chassis have been selected with a plug and pull aid that is particularly easy to assemble for the employees.

Centre of competence
In 2018, the new Actros was presented at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Trade Fair. In addition to Mercedes-Benz Worth plant, the new flagship truck will also roll off the assembly line in Aksaray in Turkey. The Worth plant plays a leading and multiplier role in the worldwide production network of Mercedes-Benz trucks when new technologies and modern manufacturing processes are first introduced.

The specialists in Worth prepare production start-ups in the production facilities around the world and accompany them on site. For the new Actros around 120 colleagues from other production locations are being intensively trained in new product and process technologies in the work preparation workshop in Worth for their multiplier function in their ‘home’ plants.

Stefan Buchner, Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, said: “For the new Mercedes-Benz Actros, we have developed solutions with the clear goal of making it the safest, most efficient and most connected truck ever. Thanks to our expertise in the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, we are now putting it on the road. The Actros is now ready for its customers.”

New Actros highlights 
The Actros, which is the flagship of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, has sold more than 1.2 million units since the launch of the first Actros generation in 1996.

One of the major innovations is Active Drive Assist. Mercedes-Benz Trucks is bringing with this new innovation semi-automated driving in all speed ranges into series production. It can independently steer, brake and accelerate the truck under certain conditions. While the responsibility for monitoring the traffic situation remains with driver, the system significantly relieves the driver and makes an important contribution to increasing road safety.

Another world first is the standard-fit MirrorCam. It replaces the main mirror and wide-angle mirror in the new Actros. The system consists of two cameras mounted on the outside of the vehicle, whose images are shown on two 15-inch displays on the A-pillars in the driver's cab, giving the driver a much improved all-round view.

The new Multimedia Cockpit is the centre of connectivity in the new Actros. The primary display replaces the conventional instrument cluster so that the driver can see all the assistance systems and the new traffic sign recognition function at a glance. A second touchscreen on the instrument panel serves the purpose of apps selection from the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal, virtual switches and presenting the new navigation system.

The Worth plant
The Worth plant, which is largest truck assembly plant of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, was founded in Wörth am Rhein in 1963 and produces the Mercedes-Benz Antos, Arocs and Atego trucks – as well as the Actros, the world's most successful heavy-duty truck, for more than 20 years. The Mercedes-Benz special trucks Econic, Unimog and Zetros are also built here. Up to 470 trucks customized according to customer requirements leave Worth every day.

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth also has more than 50 years of experience in CKD (Completely Knocked Down) production, and delivers vehicle kits to numerous overseas markets for local final assembly – more than 750,000 kits until today.

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