MAN sets up an assembly plant in record time in Krakow, Poland


Final quality inspection at the end of the line  

Quality inspection at MAN

Since 2007, heavy-duty trucks weighing more than 16 tonnes have been produced at the new MAN assembly plant in the Polish town of Niepolomice, near Krakow. This is the first time that MAN has implemented network and control technology and I/O systems from Phoenix Contact in all production areas in Niepolomice.

The international leader in truck manufacturing assembled an ultra-modern assembly plant on the 142 hectare area in no time at all, thereby providing a surface area of around 250,000 square meters, of which 78,000 are covered. The construction work began in the fall of 2005 and by mid-2007 the first vehicles were already rolling off the production line.

The plant was designed in such a way that 15,000 trucks can be manufactured each year, with 650 employees per shift. “We had already surpassed this figure by 2009,” explains Dr. Carsten Intra, Head of the Heavy Trucks Business Unit. To implement a project of such size quickly and smoothly, an automation standard that had been tried and tested in a Munich plant was put to use and further developed.


Before starting the building works in Poland, a team of eight planners (led by the Munich MAN Maintenance Planner Peter Gutjahr and his deputy, Alexander Röhrl) determined the essential requirements for the automation concept. All data relating to production had to be transmitted from the headquarters in Germany to the individual production lines in Poland via a network.

The automation solution had to be based on open, internationally regulated standards, thereby enabling consistent, fast communication throughout the company, as well as between the production locations distributed throughout the world. Furthermore, all parts and components of the plant had to be easy to integrate into the company network and to adapt flexibly to changing application requirements. A comprehensive diagnostics concept was necessary, to ensure that downtimes were kept to an absolute minimum. The automation system from Phoenix Contact fulfills these requirements, as it is based on the “IT-powered automation” concept.


Communication with the electric monorail system group via a controller  

The ILC 350 ETH-IB controller controls communication with the electric monorail system group

In the large-scale Polish assembly plant, more than 100,000 signals, commands, and currents are respectively received, forwarded, and monitored, in order for the plant to function seamlessly. To this end, MAN deploys I/O systems from Phoenix Contact with IP20 and IP65/67 protection. The Inline Modular system is used for assembly in the control cabinet.

Reliable wireless communication

Bluetooth excels as a stable, reliable data transmission method, even in unfavorable ambient conditions. The wireless protocol can be easily integrated into Ethernet communication methods and many local Bluetooth networks can be operated side by side simultaneously.

Highly communicative control technology

At the four frame assembly workstations, RFC 450 ETH-IB is used as a main controller, comparable to the controllers used in the electric monorail systems. At both pre-assembly stations, an ILC 200 IB Inline controller forwards the data to distributed I/O devices via an INTERBUS system.

In the MAN plant in Poland, all chassis are coated with water-based paint for environmental reasons. To ensure that the painting process runs safely, the controller must respond extremely quickly. The RFC 450 ETH-IB also controls the pressure, lifting, lowering, and extraction of the chassis, as well as the process of dosing paint, whereby the lower-level systems are connected via INTERBUS.

Comprehensive diagnostics

The integrated Diag+ software tool enables diagnostics to be carried out throughout the MAN plant in Poland. Plant operators and maintenance staff are not only advised of the error location and cause, but are also given guidance on how to correct the malfunction. This serves not only to increase productivity by minimizing downtimes, but also fulfills the high MAN quality standards.


MAN relies on an automation solutions from Phoenix Contact  

MAN relies on an automation solutions from Phoenix Contact

As the automation system from Phoenix Contact is based on the “IT-powered automation” concept, those in charge at MAN Truck & Bus Group opted unanimously for this automation solution.

“Along with high productivity, we place enormous value on a fast ramp-up as well as flexible system extension,” explains Peter Gutjahr, Head of Planning and Maintenance at MAN Truck & Bus. “This enables not only the easy integration of system parts and components into the production network, but also consistent and fast data transmission throughout the company and to other company locations.”

“The automation system from Phoenix Contact has all internationally required standardized interfaces, such as INTERBUS, Ethernet TCP/IP, Bluetooth or OPC,” adds Deputy Alexander Röhrl. “Combined with easy handling and the high-performance hardware and software, this saves time during engineering and enables the fast startup of the plant.”


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