The Mercedes-Benz’s assembly line in São Bernardo do Campo is now one of the most technically advanced production facilities for bus chassis in Brazil thanks to a modernization project carried out by Dürr.
Dürr, a mechanical and plant engineering firm, has modernized the Mercedes-Benz bus chassis production line with individually developed automated guided vehicles (AGVs). The São Bernardo do Campo plant, in the state of São Paulo, is the largest Mercedes-Benz truck assembly plant outside of Germany and now, thanks to this modernization project, it has become one of the most technically advanced production facilities for buses chassis in Brazil in terms of technology, connectivity and information processing.
The modernization project, which began in 2020 and committed 20 Dürr professionals for about 15,000 hours of engineering, involved the integration of interlocking systems in an Industry 4.0 environment and the perfect interaction between man and machine that guarantee efficient processes.
Before launching the line on the Mercedes-Benz plant, all results were simulated in a virtual environment. This led, from the beginning, to high efficiency and fewer system failures in the implementation of the project.
The plant now benefits from a fully automated assembly line with AGVs which are used as a conveyor system through the entire assembly line from the beginning of the production process to the entire assembled chassis, including the engine. Therefore, Mercedes-Benz now benefits from a highly safe and efficient production line with improved logistics and a reduction in production times of 12%.
Dürr has installed a unique transport system with AGVs
To achieve maximum flexibility and efficiency, Dürr installed a transport system consisting of 51 pairs of AGVs. The combination of the AGVs brought flexibility to the assembly line, solving the customer's request to produce all models of bus chassis in a single line, which have wide variations in weight and length.
One or two pairs of AGVs are used and connected via Wi-Fi, are capable of working in absolute synchronization and can handle the huge bus chassis up to 20 meters in length.
An AGV model allows assemblers to adjust heights at any assembly station via controls installed in each assembly station independently, enabling ergonomic workstation operations. AGVs are also equipped with safety scanners and bumpers, which allow to work in a safe environment and reduce system failures.
A conveyor system with these characteristics in terms of load capacity, ergonomic characteristics and safety standards is unique and brings great benefits for the customer.
Dürr has installed overhead conveyors in the assembly line, whose task is to transport and move axes and engines, and which work in sync with the AGVs.
The whole equipment is digitally networked in an integrated and robust Industry 4.0 system: all information is acquired by a management system that allows the control of all project activities and translates into hand-in-hand work between man and machine.
For the final assembly business, Dürr used the NEXT.assembly strategy, which integrates all of its technology and consulting spectrum into a one-stop-shop solution aimed at enabling vehicles to be assembled as efficiently as possible at competitive prices. The building blocks for this are conveyor, bonding, assembly, filling, and inspection technology as well as digital solutions for intelligent control of overall production.
Dürr technicians and engineers planned the turnkey project in close coordination with the customer. "Converting an established assembly line into a completely new environment was a great challenge. We mastered it by developing unique solutions with the most modern technology in the market," said Paulo Sentieiro, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Dürr Brazil.