Untertürkheim in-line engine plant: in 1998, the new plant opened its doors


Stuttgart, Germany, Jul 20, 2008

  • Diesel and gasoline engines with four, five, and six cylinders in various engine displacement classes
  • Central role in the success of Mercedes-Benz CDI technology
  • Daimler AG’s main plant at Untertürkheim dates back to 1904
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Untertürkheim is one of the oldest industrial manufacturing sites in the world, and since 1998 has housed a future-oriented production facility for ultra-modern Mercedes-Benz in-line engines. Diesel and gasoline engines are manufactured here, with four, five, and six cylinders in a range of engine displacement classes. It was opened shortly after the start of production of the Common Rail Direct Injection (CDI) system in 1997, and has played a key role in the success of this technology. For the diesel engine, CDI has paved the way to the future.

The Untertürkheim plant goes back to the days of the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (“Daimler Motor Company,” DMG). In 1904, DMG officially opened its new production plant, which was already ultra-modern for the time. In the same year, the company moved its headquarters from Cannstatt to Untertürkheim; DMG had already been manufacturing engines and automobiles at the Cannstatter Seelberg site since 1887. Today, the Untertürkheim site likewise houses Daimler AG’s headquarters. The in-line engine plant is just one of several production facilities that make up the Untertürkheim plant, which is a central Daimler AG location for the manufacture of engines, gear systems, and axles.

The production figures for the in-line engine plant reflect the success story of the brand with the three-pointed star: for example, workers here have manufactured just under one million units of the four-cylinder M271 gasoline engine, which is used in various
Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, since its production began in July 2001. Over 2.3 million units of the four, five, and six-cylinder diesel engine series have been manufactured over the last ten years. As well as complete engines, the in-line engine plant also produces cylinder heads for commercial vehicles. These are used in full engine production at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Mannheim.

The in-line engine plant is a direct response to the great demand for modern diesel engines engines in particular that developed in the late 1990s. In 1997, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Common Rail Direct Injection (CDI) system in the 220 CDI model. The diesel direct injection system quickly became very popular, and the passenger car engine range expanded, with the result that a new production facility was needed. On July 24, 1998, Daimler-Benz AG, as it was then known, officially opened the new in-line engine plant. The company invested more than 900 million deutschmarks in the new conversion and extension of its in-line engine plant, paving the way for competitive production: a sum of roughly 100 million deutschmarks was spent on buildings, and 800 million deutschmarks on machinery and equipment. Series production had already commenced in December 1997.
The production area comprises over 50,000 square meters. In order to create this space, the architects and planning engineers redesigned four existing factory buildings as a single cohesive production area running along Benzstrasse. The press release in 1998 commented as follows: “With its integrated design, the world’s oldest automobile factory demonstrates that efficient production that is compatible with ecological common sense and attractive workplaces can also be realized by redesigning existing premises.

The central focus is on the individual, and the general architecture and workplace design adhere to this principle. From the start, the in-line engine plant featured generously sized, glassed-in team zones, break-time areas in front of the plant, roof garden areas, and green open-space zones. The working environment is characterized by bright interior spaces flooded with light that create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Color-coordinated production equipment is harmoniously integrated into the overall architectural design.

High priority is given to environmental protection: there are special systems for exhaust air purification, heat recovery, ventilation of the factory building, and waste treatment. Additionally, an innovative circuit design for cooling lubricant, featuring low-waste filters, the use of low-emission oils, and a new type of cold test technology on the engine test benches make additional contributions to ensuring environmentally friendly production in conjunction with the highest quality standards.

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