Mercedes-Benz is embarking on a high-tech journey in its manufacturing facilities across Germany, Hungary, and China as it gears up for the production of Mercedes Modular Architecture (MMA) based models slated for the mid-2020s. In a bid to achieve this ambitious goal, the automaker is employing advanced technologies and leveraging Nvidia's Omniverse system to create digital replicas of its factories.
Described as the ‘Digital First' approach, Mercedes-Benz is already utilising its MO360 digital production ecosystem in 30 plants globally. This system harnesses real-time data to interconnect all these manufacturing facilities, affording Mercedes-Benz the agility to produce electric, hybrid, and combustion vehicles on the same assembly line.
Mercedes-Benz's Rastatt plant in Germany has emerged as a standout example of how digital twin technology is enhancing its operations. By leveraging Nvidia's Omniverse technology, Mercedes-Benz has crafted a virtual production facility, enabling meticulous planning of machine placements, supply routes, and production lines, all in preparation for the forthcoming MMA-based models—recently previewed with the Concept CLA. This innovative technology not only expedites production ramp-up but also serves as a blueprint for the brand's global production network.
Substantial investments, amounting to hundreds of millions of euros, are being injected into the Rastatt plant to ready it for MMA production. The adoption of a digital twin not only doubles the speed of assembly hall conversions or constructions but also elevates process quality while facilitating early error detection.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has also found its place in the Rastatt facility. AI technology has notably improved efficiency in the painting process and yielded a 20% reduction in costs when monitoring sub-processes, compared to conventional programmable logic controllers.
Reb Lebaredian, Vice President of Omniverse and Simulation Technology at Nvidia, commented on this digitalisation endeavour, stating, “Digitalization will enable a whole new era of efficiency for the automotive industry. Using NVIDIA Omniverse and AI, Mercedes-Benz is building a connected, digital-first approach to optimize its manufacturing processes, ultimately reducing construction time and production costs.”