Tag Archives: Tech

Factory 56 — the future of cars manufacturing

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Even in a difficult economic situation Mercedes-Benz continues to improve its manufacturing process and tries to set a higher bar in the car industry. Another proof of that is the opening of a new Mercedes-Benz’s factory named Factory 56 in the German city Sindelfingen. The company itself calls this factory “Flexible, digital, efficient and sustainable.” Factory 56 was opened at the beginning of September on a ground area corresponding to 30 soccer pitches. It took 2.5 years to finish the project. According to the company’s web-site, Mercedes-Benz is planning to invest about 2.1 billion euros at Factory 56.

But what makes this plant the future of car manufacturing?

Flexibility. At one factory’s assembly line is possible to assemble cars with different body types. The production can adapt to current demand on the market and allows to easily restructure process of assembling to switch from sedan to SUV, for instance.
Digitalization. The plant has no conventional assembly line. A car is manufactured on a remote platform, which allows a car to stay in one place most of the time when all required parts are being transported by remote carts connected to one intellectual network. The digital ecosystem is built on a powerful WLAN and 5G network, which allows workers to supervise all systems automatically. From the monitoring of parts in stock to the system of electronic workflow, which would save 10 tons of paper every year.
Environmental friendliness. Factory 56 became fully carbon-neutral with zero CO2 emissions and significantly low energy consumption. The plant was built using recycled concrete. 40% of the factory’s roof is covered with plants and trees, the roof is also filled with solar panels, which is a sign that Mercedes-Benz does care about the environment. 
Working conditions. More than 1500 employees are working at the factory in two shifts. While organizing the working space, Mercedes-Benz took into account employees’ preferences. For example, via an online survey, they were asked about personal opinions, preferable shifts to work, suggestions, and even people they want to work together with. More than 85% of the suggestions were successfully granted.

At Factory 56 Mercedes-Benz is manufacturing the new S-class W223 and EQS as start models to launch the site. It’s extremely crucial that the company approached this project with responsibility, taking care of the environment.

I would say it should be an example for major companies that it’s possible to remain eco-friendly and efficient at the same time. And, of course, technologies. This is really astonishing to see real technological development, not the one Apple calls “revolution” each year. This is a huge step towards efficiency. For me, it’s really boldly for a company with a reputation and history to do this. It’s clear to see their struggles on this occasion, let alone the new S-class. Mercedes-Benz proved that even investing an enormous amount of money to implement modern technologies is worth it when it comes to technologies.

Sources:

https://media.mercedes-benz.com/article/4a87e260-766b-4d92-935b-a844709da9d0 

https://media.mercedes-benz.com/article/9466d64c-1a10-4d47-a491-b52a54d2f128 

 

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The Perfect Wave

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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Escaping the cold December noons, you travel to the Hawaii Pipeline. The beach, renowned for its waves, is gleaming in the sunshine. You feel the light breeze of salty water on your cheek and vitamin D soaking into your skin. Having your best holidays, you decide to try this perfect blend of warm water and high waves. You stand on your surfboard and try your skills in the ocean.

 

But this scenario is usually far from reachable. Not only does surfing is highly costly, but also, as the weather is often unpredictable, it can be hard to find high waves. In Europe, the cost generating factor is mostly the absence of ocean that can create such waves as we can observe in Hawaii or Africa. Even assuming that we have the money for such travel, we cannot be sure for 100% that our journey will satisfy our surfing cravings due to the, for example, lack of wind. To fight with both of these factors and raise the popularity of surfing across the globe, Kelly Slater, an eleven-time world champion in surfing, came up with an idea to create a perfect wave machine.

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In 2009, this surfing legend with a spark of creativity and lust for a groundbreaking change to the surfing industry teamed up with the University of Southern California’s professor, Adam Fincham, to find the perfect wave. Inspired by an iconic movie, The Endless Summer, they began working on outsmarting nature and came up with a ring-shaped lake in which the wave endlessly went around the center. But Slater’s idea was to create a rectangular pool that would perfectly imitate the ocean’s atmosphere and skills needed. Studying complex mathematics to find a formula that can crack the geophysical fluid dynamics, in 2015, they invented The Kelly’s Wave. In the middle of California’s country, they set up Surf Ranch and started disrupting the surfing industry.

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In this approximately 2,000 feet long and 500 feet wide pool, the artificial wave is created by a unique system of hydrofoils. The pool is filled with 15 million gallons of UV-and-chlorine-treated freshwater, and the main 100-ton hydrofoil is named “The Vehicle.” Running down a track with the help of more than 150 truck tires, it has the ability to create 6.5 foot-tall waves, which run at about 30 kilometers per hour. Of course, for beginners, you can adjust the height of the stream and its speed to provide them with a safe and enjoyable experience. This invention astonished The World Surf League (WSL), and they are currently the most significant stakeholder in his Kelly Slater Wave Company. Furthermore, from 2019, you can participate in the Freshwater Pro Championships held at the Surf Farm led by the World Surfing Team and WSL.

 

The truth is that Kelly’s wave changed the surfing industry, and, in spite of the numerous wave pools created, Slater’s one is the best in history. Outsmarting nature, the technology behind it enables surfers to create a contest or just enjoy the sport without even thinking about the weather. But this invention also divided surfers into two groups – one that admires surfing because of its search for a wave, vibing with nature and the “perfect imperfections” of the ocean’s dynamics, and the other one that is more focused on the skills, adjusting techniques and making surfing mainstream.

 

Resources:

  • https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/12/17/kelly-slaters-shock-wave
  • https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/04/kelly-slater-built-a-wave-machine-that-could-change-surfing.html
  • https://www.newyorker.com/podcast/the-new-yorker-radio-hour/the-new-yorker-radio-hour-extra-kelly-slaters-perfect-wave-brings-surfing-to-a-crossroads
  • https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/the-facts-and-figures-behind-kelly-slater-surf-ranch
  • https://blog.theclymb.com/out-there/10-of-the-worlds-best-waves/

 

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