Mercedes-Benz boosts its global production network with Microsoft Cloud

Mercedes-Benz and Microsoft recently announced a partnership to make car manufacturing more efficient, robust and sustainable through the new MO360 data platform. Standardized on Microsoft Azure, this unified data platform gives Mercedes-Benz the flexibility and power of cloud computing to run AI and analytics globally while meeting cybersecurity and compliance standards across all regions. It is already available to teams in Europe, Africa and the Middle East and will later be rolled out in the US and China.

The MO360 data platform is the evolution of the Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations 360 (MO360) digital production ecosystem from Mercedes-Benz, it enables teams to identify potential bottlenecks in the production chain faster. They can compare the availability of components, including semiconductors, with production orders and place this data against production parameters, including operational execution plans, which enable factory managers to maintain ongoing production and prioritize relevant vehicles.

Joerg Burzer, Member of the Executive Board of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Production & Supply Chain Management, says:

“This new partnership between Microsoft and Mercedes-Benz will make our global manufacturing network smarter, more sustainable and resilient in times of geopolitical and macroeconomic challenges. The ability to predict and prevent production and logistics problems will become a key competitive advantage as we become fully electrical.”

AI, digital twin and data analysis

The MO360 data platform will enable Mercedes-Benz to create a virtual replica of its vehicle manufacturing process, combining information from assembly, production planning, workshop logistics, procurement and quality management. Virtual simulation and optimization of processes before they occur in the plant can accelerate operational efficiency and save energy. Operating models can thus be optimized to reduce CO2 emissions in production.

The automaker is also exploring integrating the platform with data sources from other departments to enable a digital feedback loop that will drive continuous learning and innovation across the group.

The Mercedes-Benz Digital Factory Campus Berlin, officially launched on September 23, is the base for the MO360 data platform’s engineering team and will become the MO360 training and qualification center for implementing digital approaches worldwide.

Judson Althoff, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Microsoft, said:

“Mercedes-Benz’s partnership with Microsoft is a testament to the power of the industrial metaverse. Together, we merge the physical and digital worlds to accelerate value creation. Mercedes-Benz can endlessly simulate and refine manufacturing processes in the Microsoft cloud before bringing them to the shop floor to improve efficiency and minimize its environmental impact in the face of constant change and uncertainty. »

Democratize data to improve team productivity

Mercedes-Benz production staff access the MO360 platform via a self-service portal accessible on any company device: tablet, smartphone or laptop. Microsoft Power BI allows him to visualize the data, model or correlate it.

Factory 56 is a fully digitized production facility that opened in September 2020 in the Mercedes-Benz factory in Sindelfingen, Germany, it is already enabled by the data-driven AI platform MO360. Teams reduce their daily meetings on the shop floor by 30%, identify priority tasks to optimize workflows in two minutes, which could take them up to four hours before the platform was introduced.

Jan Brecht, Chief Information Officer of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, explains:

“With the MO360 data platform, we are democratizing technology and data in manufacturing. As we move towards a 100% digital business, data is becoming everyone’s business at Mercedes-Benz. Our colleagues on the shop floor have access to real-time data related to production and management .They are able to work with detailed dashboards and make decisions based on data”.

Mercedes-Benz process software engineers had previously released their MO360 Frontend toolkit on Github and will continue to collaborate openly. They use free and open source software (FOSS), including GitHub, to improve software quality and delivery speed. They leverage Azure Data Lake, Azure Databricks, and Azure Purview to process and manage massive amounts of data and run AI and analytics using their preferred development frameworks. For software implementation and operation, they work with Azure DevOps.

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