MAN Truck & Bus
The production of electric vehicles in large numbers demands new production processes as e-trucks differ from traditionally propelled models with new components such as batteries, electric motors, power electronics and high-voltage cables. What’s more, the switch to the new drive technology won’t happen overnight. Instead, MAN in Munich will initially produce both conventional and battery electric trucks on the same production line.
That’s a significant challenge, not only for machinery and technology but for the workforce too. That’s why MAN opened the eMobility Center in Munich in mid-June 2021. There, staff undergo training on high-voltage technology and learn how to build conventional and electric trucks alongside each other. So far, more than 1,700 team members have completed the “High Voltage Awareness” training, and that figure is set to reach 2,000 by the end of the year. By the end of 2023, all relevant truck production staff in Munich should be qualified for series production of electric trucks.
will have received "High Voltage Awareness" training by the end of the year
We have been diesel specialists up to now and had to start from scratch
“We have been diesel specialists up to now and had to start from scratch,” said Peter Pjetraj, responsible for staff qualifications in the area of e-mobility at MAN, speaking about the past year at the eMobility Center in Munich. Working on high-voltage technology is not actually any more complicated than on conventional drive systems, but it does demand meticulous care to be taken with the technology, especially for safety reasons. There was a resulting need for new training concepts for production staff qualifications with the aim of making them fit for the launch of series production planned for 2024 in plenty of time.
The eMobility Center plays a key role in this, because this is where the MAN Academy experts work with selected employees to trial and develop new course content and methods. “These multipliers are the first to qualify and they will then share their knowledge with their colleagues in series production,” explained the head of the MAN Production Academy, Dr Phillip Attig. However, the eMobility Center also serves as a nucleus where the new skills required can first be identified, work processes can be planned and the necessary training can be devised, course content can be developed and training materials prepared. In the meantime, the first multipliers are fully trained and ready to share their knowledge.
Safety is the top priority at the eMobility Center.
After a year, the eMobility Center has overcome its first hurdles and laid the essential foundations for parallel series production of conventional and electric trucks on one line. The early involvement of Production in the development process and the use of experiences and ideas from staff have brought many new, positive experiences into this interdisciplinary cooperation. “It is absolutely essential that voices from Production are heard too,” said Michael Neukam (PTPV), head of the Pre-Production Centre / Pilot Hall Forum. “We’re seeing the first fruits of that work here.”
A great deal of detailed work was necessary to get the transition to e-mobility under way. One of the first steps was to establish high voltage safety, which is critically important. “That’s why we have developed a safety concept, provided our staff with basic training and tightened up our access controls,” said Neukam, who believes that further qualifications for staff are on the right track. “From 2024, we want to have reached a point with Production that we can build the TruE range on the main assembly line.”
It is absolutely essential that voices from Production are heard too.
It’s simply great to be working with such modern, forward-looking technology.
Series production is currently on show at the eMobility Center at 1:6 scale: “Instead of 60 stations on the line, there are only ten, so the output is much lower; employees have an hour instead of just five minutes,” explained Holger von der Heide, Head of Planning, Truck Production. This is where preparations are under way for the future combined production of conventional and alternative drive trucks on one production line in Munich.
“After a year, it has become clear that we have taken a very successful step into the new world of alternative drive technologies for MAN and our Munich site,” said von der Heide in summary. Nevertheless, although an electric truck is technically very different from a diesel truck, the initial scepticism among some employees quickly turned to enthusiasm. “It’s simply great to be working with such modern, forward-looking technology,” explained von der Heide.
Employee qualifications and investments running into the billions: MAN has set its course for the future. This is how a company can take that important step to become a resilient company, moving into a sustainable and climate-friendly transformation of the transport industry.