As promised here is a short video from the insides of the plant.

Day 2. Today I will actually participate in producing a smart. In order to ensure a smooth production, every step of the production process is thoroughly planned and all parts have their special location. The assembly line is divided into different stations. At each station something else is done. My station today was “installation headlights”. I liked that station; it feels like giving the smart eyes. Along the assembly line, you can find all the different parts needed for the installation. On one side of the line the different types of headlights are stored. In total 4 different types are available – a European, a US/ Canada and two Brabus version. A sheet of paper attached to the windshield tells me which headlights that specific smart will get. On the other side of the line, you find screws and tools that you need to install the headlights. And then I was ready to go … the smart arrives, I check the sheet on the windshield to know which type of headlights needs to be installed. Then I take the right type of headlights from the shelf and the cordless screwdriver. The screws are in a belt which I wear. They are magnetic which makes it easier to screw them into the car – I need three per headlight. I connect the headlights to the car and screw. And done. Next one.

To create a nicer work atmosphere, workers can hand in CDs and music requests which are played during the day. I enjoyed listening to music while I was working. In general, the factory is a good place to work. The windows allow the daylight to come in and close to all work stations are doors that lead to the outside where workers can enjoy their break and go out for a blow. For lunch or dinner, workers and office employees can go to the factory cafeteria. It is located at the fourth floor of the building and allows a nice view over the country side. In summer you can sit outside on the roof top. I had the feeling that smart is not only a production plant but although a good place to work where people know each other and enjoy being.

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Comment by spicejax on November 20, 2012 at 12:41am

Thanks, Lena that makes sense based on USA sales compared to Europe.

I hope someday the ratio gets higher for USA cars.

MJB

Comment by Lena Arens on November 19, 2012 at 7:45am

To your question about production planning:

Production planning is very tricky. There are people in Hambach who are just working on planning the production, especially the sequence of the different cars. Normally it takes a bit longer to install things on a US version car. Therefore you will never find two US version cars in a row. The worker wouldn't be able to get the workload done in the planned time. That's why you always have a European one in between.

Comment by Lena Arens on November 19, 2012 at 7:42am

Dear jwight,

unfortunately I haven't taken any pictures from the cafeteria yet.  I am too focused on food when go there:-D. But I try to take one.

 

Comment by Lena Arens on November 19, 2012 at 7:36am

How many USA/Canada? That's difficult to say. A few :-), every tenth car I would say.

Comment by spicejax on November 16, 2012 at 9:56am

Lena, you are doing a great job. How many USA/Canada headlights did you install that day? Did you install them on pairs?

MJB

Comment by Jim and Ann Brown on November 16, 2012 at 8:15am

Lena,

Your blog is the best thing I have had from smart cars since I acquired little Munchkin.  Keep it up.  It is fascinating.

Jim

Comment by jwight on November 16, 2012 at 7:00am

OK - that is a short video!

Comment by jwight on November 16, 2012 at 6:45am

Thanks for this installment - makes me want to visit even more.  All sorts of questions: can you show us video of the area outside the plant, the cafeteria and maybe even Hambach itself?  Also, could you explain how the different cars for different markets (US, China, EU, etc.) are integrated into the production schedule (that would include special editions and the electric drive also.)  Good stuff!

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