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The Cannstatt engine factory: Celebrating ten years of V-power
- Official opening of the V-engine factory – the Factory of the Future – in Bad Cannstatt in 1997
- State-of-the-art production technology and an exemplary approach to environmental protection
- Production of all Mercedes-Benz V6 and V8 gasoline engines in Bad Cannstatt
Strong personalities are created at the Factory of the Future in Bad Cannstatt – for this is where all Mercedes-Benz V6 and V8 gasoline engines come off the production lines. The V-engine factory, inaugurated in 1997, forms part of the DaimlerChrysler plant in Untertürkheim and employs a workforce of around 1,200 in the production of state-of-the-art V-engines. In 2006 a total of about 400,000 V-engines were produced.
Each engine is an individual – a fact reflected in the various displacement volumes, the choice of automatic or manual transmission and other specifications. Pioneering production technology ensures that all engines are manufactured in line with strict Mercedes-Benz standards. A chip containing data specific to each assembly station and robot accompanies the transport platform as the engine moves around the Cannstatt factory. This digital information not only makes assembly of the engines easier, it also ensures that all production stages are continually monitored for quality assurance purposes.
Groundbreaking ceremony in 1994
The V-engine factory in Bad Cannstatt has a history dating back to 1994. Building work on the new factory began after a groundbreaking ceremony performed by Manfred Rommel, Lord Mayor of Stuttgart at the time. The production facility at the Bad Cannstatt sub-plant was set up exclusively to manufacture new generations of V6 and V8 gasoline engines – muscular power units destined for dynamic cars. The strong demand for these units came about not least as a result of Mercedes-Benz’s passenger car product drive.
In developing the complex into the new factory, the planners faced a considerable challenge since construction of the V-engine facility was to take place not on a greenfield site but on the site of a former repair plant once belonging to German Rail. Conversion therefore required the sensitive redesignation of land from one industrial sector to another. DaimlerChrysler regarded the challenge as an opportunity, however, and sought to develop the V-engine factory as a highly environment-friendly location.
Environmental protection with photovoltaics and insect habitat
One of the environmental technologies employed resulted in the largest photovoltaic system ever installed in a building in Europe, with solar panels covering approximately 5,000 square meters. Other energy-saving features include the utilization of waste heat and heat recovery systems.
Endangered insects also found a new habitat in an area of gravel and shingle on the grounds of the Bad Cannstatt engine factory – the idea for which came from the old gravel beds of the River Neckar that once provided breeding grounds for bumble bees and wild bees. “A classic example of successful site recycling,” was how the Ministry for the Environment of the State of Baden-Württemberg showed its respect for the company and its Factory of the Future in 2004.
Inauguration in 1997
The new Bad Cannstatt engine factory was officially opened by Minister-President Erwin Teufel in April 1997, the first engines having come off the assembly line in late 1996. The Factory of the Future covered a total area of about 66,300 square meters.
Just seven months after its inauguration the Bad Cannstatt facility produced its 100,000th V-engine. In January 2000, V-engine production in Bad Cannstatt reached the one million milestone –a V8 gasoline engine for a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The factory exceeded its projected target of around 300,000 engines annually just three years after its opening in April 1997.
In recognizing this milestone, the director of the Untertürkheim plant Volker Stauch gave a highly positive assessment of the achievement: “The worldwide rise in the demand for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars requires us as manufacturers of the vehicles’ powertrain to adapt capacities to keep pace with this gratifying market development.” In February 1999, Stauch became Spokesman of the Executive Panel for Passenger Car Assemblies/Components, with responsibility for coordinating all major assembly activities of the Mercedes Car Group within DaimlerChrysler AG. In July 1999 he was also appointed director of the Untertürkheim plant.
Expansion and awards
The two millionth engine was produced in Bad Cannstatt in 2003, the three millionth in 2006. High demand for the V-engines from Bad Cannstatt also brought an increase in the size of the workforce, and 2004 saw expansion of the production area to 84,200 square meters. That same year the Factory of the Future received an environmental award in the industrial category from the Ministry for the Environment of Baden-Württemberg.
A second award, the 2005 PR Report Award in the category of in-house media, went to the V-engine factory in May 2005 in recognition of its campaign to accompany the successful production launch of the new Mercedes-Benz V6 engines at Bad Cannstatt. The centerpiece of the campaign was the so-called V-Day for employees at production launch, which brought together over 1,000 production employees and executives under the slogan “Vreude kann man teilen” (‘Joy can be shared’).
The V-engine factory is one of DaimlerChrysler’s most advanced production facilities. At the same time it is a place steeped in history. After all, it was in Bad Cannstatt that Gottlieb Daimler built his experimental workshop, later the birthplace of Daimler’s first automobile. Given the way the motor car was to take the world by storm in the years that followed, it seems the birthplace of Mercedes-Benz was even then a true Workshop of the Future.