I love trucks. I love how-it’s-made style documentaries. This one is a how-it’s-made documentary on how Mercedes builds trucks. It’s relaxing. You’ll like it a lot.
Deep in the Rhineland and not far from the border with France, Mercedes-Benz’s Wörth plant builds Actroses. Bigger than the mid-sized Antos and the smaller Atego, the Actros is the king of the road in most of the world, where European-style cab-overs dominate the market and American trucks like Kenworths, Macks, and Peterbilts are all but impossible to spot.
Churning out more than 400 trucks a day sounds like a mighty task, but the 11,000-strong team at the plant in Wörth am Rhein (along with a host of robots) is more than up to the task.
This documentary follows a single truck from the delivery of the raw frame rails at the plant through the final tests each vehicle must pass before shipment.
While much of the process is automated, with robots doing most of the welding and painting, there is a surprising amount of hand assembly done on each truck, from the fitment of the motor which arrives from another Daimler plant in nearby Mannheim to the fitting of mounts and electrical components for the bodies to be fitted in the aftermarket.
Now, none of this is all that different from how Volvo builds trucks here in the United States. A few years back, our man Jason got an inside look at how they put together their conventional (hooded) tucks for the American market and honestly the whole process looks very similar, even if the welding is done by hand rather than by robots.
Still, the vast scale of the Mercedes plant is almost awe-inspiring compared to the Volvo factory Jason got a look at. I suppose it has to be, considering that the Volvos built in America largely stay in the North American market while the Mercedes Actros is sold around the globe.
So sit back and check out how these trucks are built. It’s surprisingly relaxing and cathartic. Seriously. You’ll enjoy it a lot more than you think.