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Here we are again: Milena and Alex. Working as junior reporters for Genius, the Daimler knowledge community, we go out on various assignments and get to know the fascinating world of Daimler.
Every time, the topic we’re sent out to report on is a big surprise. For this assignment, we knew only one thing ahead of time: It would be a really big topic, because it would take us to the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth, where trucks are produced. In honor of the occasion, Milena and I brought along our remote-controlled Actros model car, because of course we’re still not old enough to drive those huge trucks.
No truck that comes off this line is the same
We were having so much fun making our tiny truck whizz around between the big ones that we weren’t being careful. Our toy truck crashed into somebody’s foot — which belonged to none other than our interview partner for today: Matthias Jurytko, the Plant Manager in Wörth. Luckily, he has a sense of humor. He picked up the truck and greeted us with a smile.
I was surprised when Matthias told us that no two of the trucks that roll off the assembly line here are exactly alike. There are so many combinations — of colors alone! When people order a truck, they can choose exactly the details they want, and the truck is then built exactly according to these specifications. Milena and I thought that was a fairly complicated process.
Milena wanted to know whether the components used to produce such huge vehicles were especially heavy. Matthias explained that there are special tools for handling extremely heavy individual components. That makes the daily work on the assembly line much easier, because the workers don’t have to do so much heavy lifting. That’s a good thing — otherwise putting together a truck would certainly be very hard work!
The truck production at Daimler in Wörth
By now we had already heard a lot about truck production. It was time to look at the process up close. We had already discovered a few of the stations along the assembly line when we were racing through the hall with our toy truck. At this point one of Matthias’ colleagues, Frederik Neises, came along to show us everything and explain it in greater detail.
We walked along with him to the part of the assembly line where the drivers’ cabs are put together. But first we said hello to the workers on the assembly line — in the special way that junior reporters do. Next, Frederik showed us how a cockpit is built into a driver’s cab. While Milena and I were watching the colleagues do their work, I felt an urge to try it out for myself. I simply asked Frederik a direct question: Would we be allowed to help out? And indeed, under his supervision we were allowed to tighten a few screws ourselves. This can be done very easily with special tools.
Just a while ago we had talked about heavy components, and now we were standing in front of a station for a really heavy truck component: the frame construction. After the frame is painted, it has to be turned upside down. That’s done automatically within a few seconds. Here too we were allowed to help the workers: We tightened a few screws and even used a remote control device to move one of the heavy frames to the right place. That was a lot of fun!
The trucks have cameras instead of side mirrors
Standing in front of the last station we visited, the paint handover area, was a very special brand-new truck. I immediately noticed what was different about this truck: It had no outside mirrors! How could that be? The driver has to be able to see what’s around the truck. Frederik explained to us that in this truck cameras take over the tasks of the outside mirrors. On a small screen inside the cockpit, the driver sees the images captured by the cameras outside the truck. The cameras offer less air resistance — and as a result the truck consumes less fuel.
It would have been so cool if Milena and I could have driven home in one of these gigantic trucks. We said goodbye to Frederik and waved as the Actros drove away. We’re already looking forward to our next assignment!