The tour of the Mercedes Benz plant in Bremen was probably my favorite company tour of the trip. It was incredible to see the level of automation at the first plant we visited, and to see each one of the complicated machines working together to produce the bodies of the different models. Our tour guide said that this part of the manufacturing process was currently 95% automated, and that was easy to believe considering how few people we saw working at this plant.
It was also interesting to compare that plant with the next we saw. The second building was where the cars were fitted with their interior, and this building had far more human workers than the previous. Almost all of the work we saw being done on the cars in this building was by humans. I would assume that this part of the manufacturing process is much more difficult to automate than the first, but Professor Brouwer informed some of us that although that may be true, Mercedes has heard from their customers that it’s important to them that a significant portion of the car is built by humans rather than machines. So even if they were able to automate this part of the process, they most likely would not implement it.