Digital Manufacturing Powers a Better Way to Build Trucks
For Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), success isn’t just about controlling costs. It’s about building an agile company that can deliver exactly what the market demands—today and tomorrow. DTNA, a Daimler company, is the largest heavyduty truck manufacturer in North America and a leading producer of medium-duty trucks and specialized commercial vehicles, including iconic brands such as Freightliner, Western Star, Freightliner Custom Chassis, Thomas Built, and Detroit. The Portland manufacturing facility builds a variety of commercial vehicles, including four di"erent models of Western Star trucks. Each model is customized for speci#c requirements and tailored to every customer’s needs, which isn’t easy in a mass production environment.
Industrial automation solution
“We have to incorporate all of the innovation that Daimler Trucks o"ers, as well as provide an incredible amount of variety in the trucks that we build,” says Paul Erdy, plant manager, Western Star Trucks. “That is quite a dance to perform because there are so many di"erent options, especially on a Western Star, that a customer may request. We have to manage all of the logistical elements of bringing all of those parts together to meet the requirements of a particular truck build.”
Boost Business Agility and E!ciency To meet these needs, the Western Star production facility in Portland had to be upgraded to respond quickly to each speci#c customer order and scale to the ever-demanding needs of the operations and manufacturing teams.
“We coordinate all of the parts coming together on a single truck,” says Erdy. “Each truck that comes down the line is like a snow$ake—no two are alike. We o"er di"erent con#gurations of wheel bases, axles, colors, air cleaners, and other options, and we customize each truck to meet the needs of the customer.”
But it wasn’t easy to keep operations $exible and e!cient at the same time. The company’s existing infrastructure and network was marked by low resiliency and performance, limited scalability, and poor wireless coverage. The result was reduced visibility and monitoring on the plant $oor.
“We needed a new network environment that could support our current and future manufacturing processes, and provide reliable, $exible and secure services delivery,” says Dieter Haban, chief information o!cer (CIO), Daimler Trucks North America. “We also needed innovative