Industry 4.0 at Škoda
Over the past few years, Škoda has invested millions of dollars in state-of-the-art assembly technologies to increase productivity, improve worker safety, and decrease the company’s environmental footprint. As part of an overall Industry 4.0 strategy, the company has implemented additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous mobile robots and other technology.
Adding a new workstation to an assembly line requires careful planning—especially if regular operations are expected to continue at the same time. When engineers at Škoda’s assembly plant in Vrchlabí, Czech Republic, wanted to integrate a new robot into a gearbox production line, the project was fully operational in just three weeks—thanks to digital twin technology. Within a cycle time of less than 30 seconds, the new workstation installs bearings into each gearbox. Robots install the bearings to meet the precision requirements of the application.
Optikon uses mathematical combinatorial analysis methods to find various solutions to what is known as the “knapsack problem.” It addresses the question of how certain objects can be optimally fitted into a limited space. While the classic knapsack problem only takes into account the weight and value of the items to be packed, Optikon also considers floor space, the volume of the item, and when the goods have to be shipped.