Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Innovative Body-in-White Expertise
Groundbreaking innovations, safety at the highest standard and unique levels of comfort – these are the superior qualities expected of the flagship model from Mercedes-Benz. And the new S-Class fully lives up to these expectations, also when it comes to its innovative body, which won the EuroCarBody AWARD 2005. Over a period of five years, Bertrandt in Ehningen accompanied the development of this car body.

Project organisation

Four Bertrandt project teams were involved in developing the body of the new S-Class, divided up into the areas of the front-end, main floor, rear as well as the bonnet and wings. Regular coordination meetings between the individual teams and the specialist departments of DaimlerChrysler and other suppliers guaranteed smooth and reliable communication in the project. Bertrandt also provided active support for the change and release management processes. The entire development was carried out exclusively in 3D, in other words without the use of drawings.
   
The extremely high demands that this placed on the quality of the data were comfortably met. Specialists from Technical Documentation supported the archiving process in "Smaragd", DaimlerChrysler’s documentation system. For this purpose, Smaragd direct clients were established at Bertrandt using a dedicated line.

Innovative technology
Due to the many innovations in the new body, the design engineers were repeatedly faced with special challenges. For example, the material mix in the bodyin- white called for specific and demanding solutions for joining the different parts. One particular innovation was the use of vault-structured sheets with asymmetrical vaulting in the floor area. This provides optimum vibration behaviour and therefore better acoustics. Bertrandt’s Computation/Simulation Competence Centre was also involved in the development of these structures. Furthermore, it was also necessary to consider the different versions of the S-Class body. The floor area had to be designed to accommodate not only the saloon with a longer wheelbase but also the four-wheel drive version and the S-Class Coupé. With their expertise gained over many years of experience, Bertrandt’s engineers were able to provide optimum support for the specialist departments at DaimlerChrysler.

Meeting the weight challenge

The newly developed body is designed to meet even higher specifications than its predecessor, including such aspects as crash management and torsional stiffness. The vehicle dimensions have also increased. In spite of this, it was possible to keep the weight of the body-in-white constant. Over several weeks, a working group made up of all the relevant DaimlerChrysler specialist departments as well as simulation and testing teams and the various suppliers examined every single component to determine potentials for weight reduction. Here too, the experience of Bertrandt’s engineers was in great demand. The result is a body made up of a variety of materials, from plastic and aluminium to ultra high strength steel, manufactured using innovative forming processes such as hydroforming.

Conclusion
The successful cooperation between the specialist departments of DaimlerChrysler and the Bertrandt project teams has resulted in a vehicle, which is visible on the streets today with a self-confident, powerful and at the same time elegant character. Bertrandt is very pleased at being able to contribute to the development of this luxury car.