Mercedes-Benz minibuses, model year 2012
Dortmund/Stuttgart
Mar 29, 2012
All set for continuing growth: EvoBus GmbH subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Minibus GmbH expands production operations in Dortmund
  • Capacity raised to up to 1300 minibuses a year
  • Sophisticated and environment-friendly painting process
  • Pre-assembly facilities expanded, four assembly lines instead of three
  • Mercedes-Benz Minibus GmbH – a true success story
Mercedes-Benz Minibus GmbH, a subsidiary of EvoBus GmbH, has expanded its production operations in Dortmund substantially. The production floorspace has been increased by around a third, to 10,500 m2. Expansion of the pre-assembly shop, a new structure in the paint shop and additional body-in-white and logistics space boosts the annual capacity – depending on the model mix – to approx. 1300 minibuses based on Mercedes-Benz Sprinters. This expansion drive sees the company consolidating its leading role in Europe. The central focus is on optimising the infrastructure for surface treatment operations, including cavity sealing and underbody protection, pre-assembly, assembly, finishing and warehousing.
Sophisticated and environment-friendly painting process
Key aspects of the expansion process include new technologies and a further improvement of safety and quality standards in the areas of paintwork and vehicle sealing. In the paintwork area, cleaning of the bodies prior to painting has undergone further optimisation. Spraying the vehicles with air which is passed through a particulate filter and subsequently gently ionised optimises the removal of dust and dirt particles before painting.
In the actual painting process, the standard of quality is improved by electrostatic charging of the spray jet. The jet is attracted to the vehicle's surface, resulting in particularly uniform application of the paint. Apart from its technical merits, the marked reduction in atomized spray means that the painting process is also particularly environment-friendly.
Cavity and underbody sealing now take place in airtight treatment chambers under vacuum conditions. A newly installed CO2 extinguishing system in the paint shop enhances safety.
Pre-assembly facilities expanded, four assembly lines instead of three
The pre-assembly floorspace has been almost doubled, from 675 to 1250 m². Components for the interior fittings are produced for the specific models here and supplied directly to the neighbouring assembly lines in the same shop. Short distances provide for a fluid production process.
Vehicle assembly operations have been expanded from three to four production lines. This measure boosts capacity and provides the basis for greater specialisation in the assembly process. This, in turn, further increases the throughput rate and improves quality once again.
The adjoining finishing area has grown by 50%, from 900 to 1350 m2. Final settings and adjustments are carried out here, markings are applied and a through final quality inspection takes place prior to delivery.
Warehousing and logistics space almost doubled
A further focus of the expansion process concerns the warehousing and logistics capacities. In view of the ever broader vehicle range and the increased production capacity, the corresponding floorspace has been increased substantially from 1350 to 2250 m2, so as to facilitate the availability and delivery of materials.
Mercedes-Benz Minibus GmbH – a true success story
Minibus GmbH is a true success story. In 1998 EvoBus acquired an interest in minibus manufacturer Karl Koch GmbH in Mudersbach near Siegen. Minibuses have formed part of the Mercedes-Benz bus range since this date. Two years later EvoBus established the Minibus Center as a business unit for this segment. The production range grew from six to ten variants based on Mercedes-Benz Sprinters. Production started up in Dortmund, in addition to the headquarters in Mudersbach. The plant was certified in accordance with DIN EN ISO 9001/2000 in August 2002.
The complete takeover of Karl Koch took place in 2004, leading to the establishment of Mercedes-Benz Minibus GmbH. Sales had already increased three-fold since 2000. One year later, Dortmund became the company headquarters and production was relocated to Dortmund. The production floorspace totalled 5000 m2.
In 2006 Minibus GmbH launched a completely new programme based on the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, comprising the Sprinter City, Sprinter Transfer, Sprinter Travel and Sprinter Mobility. The product range covered fitted-out panel vans, panel vans with rear extensions and purpose-built minibus bodies.
Following the concentration of operations in Dortmund, the production floorspace grew here by around 50 percent, to 7725 m2. The maximum annual output rose from 700 to 1100 minibuses. The number of assembly lines was increased from two to three, with production on continuous lines introduced for the first time. Mercedes-Benz Minibus GmbH now had a workforce of 135. Certification in accordance with DIN EN ISO 9001:2008 ensued in August 2008.
The autumn of 2010 witnessed the premiere of the Sprinter City 77, a unique city bus for up to 40 passengers with its own three-axle low-floor chassis.
In the spring of 2012 the company is able to produce up to 1300 minibuses a year – depending on the model mix – on 10,500 m2 of floorspace incorporating three body-in-white and four assembly lines. Mercedes-Benz is the market leader in Europe for minibuses with a permissible gross vehicle weight of over 3.5 t.
The workforce has grown to around 220 – qualified specialists throughout, many of whom are company-trained.
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All set for continuing growth: EvoBus GmbH subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Minibus GmbH expands production operations in Dortmund
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