Mercedes Turns to the Industrial Strength Cloud for Quality Assurance

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2016-01-19 Print this article Print
Mercedes cloud use

I asked Bjorn about the amount of data that Mercedes was storing on each car. Apparently, this is proprietary information because he wouldn't say, but he did say that every piece of information is stored in the Mercedes private cloud for 20 years. And this is for every vehicle that the company makes, from each factory and production facility around the world. This clearly is a very large big data project.

The company uses this data to determine the performance of each part and subassembly of every car over time. This means that if a trend develops, Mercedes can use big data analysis to figure out exactly what the cause of failure might be and then make sure that it doesn't happen again.

It might be that a specific subassembly in a specific part begins to show early failure several months after full-scale production of vehicles starts. The company is able to tell exactly when and where the parts within the assembly were made, where they were assembled into a larger part of the car, when that took place and what else might have contributed to producing that part.

With that level of detail, the company can take corrective action, and at the same time issue a service bulletin to dealers and service centers explaining the issue and what action to take.

Meanwhile, Mercedes could track a point of failure to a specific welding machine that might be a little out of calibration or to a production team that might need additional training. Because every detail is stored in the cloud, and is there to be analyzed, it means that the company can be proactive about ensuring quality.

In effect, Daimler Benz, which makes Mercedes vehicles, is experiencing much of the promise of big data, and it's showing what thoughtful use of that data can accomplish.

But I won't pretend that my motivation for applying for a spot on the tour was strictly an examination of big data. I'm enough of a car guy to get a thrill from seeing a camouflaged Mercedes prototype on the test track, or getting to see the new S Class convertible before anyone else I know. Sadly, Mercedes wasn't giving out free samples, but it is good to know that the company is using big data to make the cars as good as they could be.


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