Mercedes-Benz Plant Wörth (Germany)

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#thisisdaimler: Wörth

The trucks are produced at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth. Almost every fifth truck in europe is a "Wörther". But what makes the plant so successful? How do the employees work and live in Wörth? Three regions meet at this location and live the "Wörther spirit" to ensure the quality for which Mercedes-Benz products are known.

The best way to describe my job at the Mercedes-Benz plant in the town of Wörth am Rhein is to start with something that happened two years ago. Back then, we had a Family Day at the plant in Wörth. And for us, that meant not only showing our families where we work (although of course we did that too) — it also included a Ferris wheel, carousels, and food stands. It took only one day to transform the whole plant into a fairground!

I think that’s a good example of how much is going on at our plant. This is the biggest truck assembly plant of the Mercedes-Benz brand, with up to 470 trucks rolling off the assembly line every single day!

Routine workdays? Not for me!

But first, let me introduce myself: I'm Christoph Bleicher, 34 years old and married with two children. I’ve been working at the Wörth plant since 2011 as a group leader in the area of cab interior assembly. Before coming to the Wörth plant, I completed an apprenticeship as an auto mechanic at a small workshop. I have to admit that switching to a major Daimler location like Wörth was a small culture shock for me. I wasn’t used to the huge size of the plant, having so many new coworkers, and of course the synchronized work on the assembly line. I hadn’t experienced any of these things in my previous job in a small auto repair shop. However, I quickly got used to the new circumstances and settled into my new job. I’ve never regretted my decision to work here, and today I’m still happy and proud to be part of such a great community.

But what’s my job at the Wörth plant really like? Actually, every day is different. I’m responsible for making sure that problems on the production line for cab interiors, such as a machine breaking down or a missing assembly part, are solved as fast as possible. But that’s exactly the thing that makes my work fun: I’m doing a different job every day. There’s only one morning ritual that always stays the same: The coffee with my colleagues gives us a good start to the day and at the same time gives us the opportunity to exchange ideas about the tasks involved.

“Quality made in Wörth”: Trucks for the whole world

As I’ve already mentioned, Wörth is the biggest truck assembly plant in the Group. No wonder — we’ve got floor space totaling 2.9 million square meters (that’s bigger than 400 soccer fields)! Every truck that rolls off our assembly line is unique. Our customers can put together a truck that exactly meets all of their requirements with more than a million possible configurations. Whether it’s the driver’s cab, the frame or the engine, every component can be selected individually. From a purely statistical point of view, therefore, no truck that rolls off the assembly line here is like another in a year.

Site facts of the plant in Wörth
Site facts of the plant in Wörth

We are proud of our products: With our quality claim "Trucks you can trust" and our "Wörther Geist" we produce Actros (long-distance vehicle, our flagship for more than 20 years), Arocs (construction site vehicle) and Atego (the smallest light truck in the group) here in Wörth. In addition, at the Wörth plant we also make Mercedes-Benz special trucks such as the Unimog (a universal vehicle for every kind of application), the Econic (a truck with a low entrance for applications such as municipal applications and airports), and the Zetros (a heavy-duty special vehicle for special applications).

Of course we subject our vehicles to very strict testing. For this purpose we’ve got the development and testing center. There are numerous bad roads and different road profiles that represent the roads of the whole world. In this way, the same conditions can be provided for the test vehicles as are found, for example, in South America, South Korea, Africa and, of course, in Europe. The ECC also includes the runway with inclination angles of up to 49%, which can be used for functional testing.

When a finished truck rolls off our assembly line, there are various ways to get it to its owner. Here, too, we are very flexible in our orientation towards our customers. Many of them come to us in the Palatinate and pick up their new truck directly from the CustomerCenter. In addition to driver information on the new vehicle, driver training to improve fuel efficiency, road safety and sustainability and a large vehicle exhibition in the Industry Information Centre, my colleagues there also offer factory tours where visitors can take a look behind the scenes of our truck assembly.

A truck motor before the installation
A truck motor before the installation
The body parts at the assembly line
The body parts at the assembly line
Step by step production of the body parts
Step by step production of the body parts
The back of the cab interior
The back of the cab interior
The body parts before the painting
The body parts before the painting
Working in the inside of the cabin
Working in the inside of the cabin
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But of course we also supply our customers in overseas markets with our "words". Since 1966, our CKD Center - CKD stands for Completely Knocked Down - has been shipping the truck components manufactured here at the site as a kit for assembly to the international assembly plants. These vehicle sets, which can consist of up to 2,500 individual parts, have been delivered to a total of 60 countries around the world since the CKD Center was established, from Australia to Cyprus.

Sustainability counts!

Another special feature of the Wörth plant is the fact that we have two wastewater treatment centers of our own. One of these centers is for the wastewater generated by the production process. The other one is a facility shared by Daimler AG and the town of Wörth for treating the sewage of the plant and the town.

Together, the two plants treat about 1,450,000 m³ of wastewater annually, in compliance with strict limit values, and channel the treated water into the Rhine, thus playing a major role in maintaining the Rhine’s good water quality. In addition, we produce our own electricity in our combined heat and power plant and consistently work towards our ambitious environmental goals - such as CO2-neutral production from 2022 - and minimum resource consumption.

The motor of the truck
The motor of the truck
The cockpit of the truck in the production
The cockpit of the truck in the production
Assembly of the smaller parts at the outside of the cab
Assembly of the smaller parts at the outside of the cab
Teamwork: Working under the engine hood
Teamwork: Working under the engine hood
The truck takes shape
The truck takes shape
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How we live in Wörth

In the center of everything is: the team, the employees at the Wörth plant. Our workforce consists of more than 10,000 men and women representing 70 different nationalities. Incidentally, our workforce is bigger than the population of the small town of Wörth itself, which is only about 9,200. Our plant is the second largest employer in the region.

Apropos the town of Wörth, its geographic location is very special. Wörth is located in the “tristate triangle” of the beautiful South Palatinate region, where the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg meet the Alsace region of France. I live about 30 kilometers from Wörth. Lots of leisure activities are available here. Because this is a rural region, you can go hiking and cycling and enjoy our legendary wine festivals. The wine is frequently served in a special glass called a “Pfälzer Schoppen” that holds half a liter of wine.

Parts of the center of excellence in Woerth
Parts of the center of excellence in Woerth

As you can imagine, there’s always a celebratory atmosphere at the wine festivals. But our region of course has a lot more to offer. Because cities such as Karlsruhe and Strasbourg are nearby, we have plenty of opportunities to spent your free leisure. For example, I often go on outings in France with my family. There you right away feel you’re on vacation, even though France is just around the corner, so to speak.

Three regions, one team

The fact that we’re located so close to France also plays a role in my work. Because this is where three regions meet, we’ve got people from Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg, and the Alsace region working here. Having the various habits and traditions of three different regions represented here are a real source of enrichment, but it also gives us good opportunities for some friendly teasing back and forth — or “frotzeln” in our local dialect.

Although each of the three regions has its own dialect, all of us understand one another. That’s why I can understand the “Elsässer” (Alsatian) dialect very well. Conversely, my colleagues from Baden-Württemberg and the Alsace region can generally follow our “Pfälzisch” dialect, which is sometimes hard to understand.

A wellness oasis and a fitness studio on wheels

We like to spend our lunch break together as a team in our “wellness oasis.” The cafeteria is located right next to a small pond. It’s an idyllic place to spend your lunch break, especially in the summer.

And if you need to get rid of the excess pounds you’ve gained because of our hearty cafeteria meals, we’ve also got a fitness studio on the plant grounds in Wörth. Our colleagues can’t claim that they don’t have any time for sports, because we’ve also got a mobile fitness studio that comes directly to the workplace. It travels through the entire plant once a day, making stops according to a regular schedule. People who are interested can find out when it’s arriving and do their training directly at their workplace with the help of expert sports trainers. My colleagues and I mainly use the mobile fitness studio, because it’s convenient to be able to use it directly on site when we’re doing shift work.

Every truck is unique
Every truck is unique

The “Wörther spirit!”

I can’t speak for every one of my colleagues at the Wörth plant, but I would say that the atmosphere here is really that of one big family. We are talking about the "Wörther Geist" mentioned at the beginning. For this feeling and the cohesion in the team a lot is done in Wörth! Examples of this are our family celebrations, the activities around "job & family", team development days or also concerts, that the management here in Wörth organizes for our families and for us. Every few years they even organize a concert here in Wörth for us employees and our families. In recent years we’ve had musicians such as Herbert Grönemeyer, Pur, and Nena perform for us here in Wörth.

What with Family Day, our mobile fitness studio, the wellness oasis, and employee concert, the management tries to make sure we enjoy working here in Wörth. From my own experience, I can tell you that their efforts are paying off. In Palatinate one would say: Alla hopp!

Christoph Bleicher

After completing his apprenticeship as an automotive mechatronics technician, he joined the company in 2011. Starting in 2012, he gained various experiences as, among other things, he was employed as a master craftsman's representative and for external assignments in the body-in-white sector. Since 2017 he has been working as a group supervisor in the interior of the driver's cab, where he ensures that production processes in his group/mastery are as trouble-free as possible on a daily basis. He is responsible for personnel planning, informs the employees about new processes or procedures in production and supports them in "new starts".

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