OEM : Automotive
The first vehicle left our factory in Mladá Boleslav in 1905 and millions of others have followed it throughout the company’s more than 120 years of existence. The company’s registered office and automobile development department have remained in the company’s home town, but production has also spread to many other places, cities and countries over time.
⭐ AI Keeps Assembly Conveyor Rolling
The overhead conveyor is the backbone of the plant. It handles almost 1,250 cars per day during a three-shift operation. There is no back-up equipment, so failure is not an option. The conveyor’s parts are exposed to relatively high forces, causing them to wear in a relatively short time. Given that the conveyor is several meters above the floor, it is difficult to access for inspection.
ŠKODA engineers developed the Magic Eye to continuously monitor the condition of the conveyor’s moving parts without the need for maintenance personnel to climb ladders and physically do the job.
Six cameras are mounted on the conveyor frame at strategic locations to monitor the condition of various conveyor elements. Rapid assessment of each trolley’s condition is carried out as the conveyor is running. Images collected by the camera are transmitted via WiFi to a central database, where they are analyzed by artificial intelligence algorithms. The software detects wear by comparing each new image of the trolley with previously collected images. If an anomaly is detected, the software sends an alert to maintenance personnel, who can fix the trolley before it can create unexpected downtime.
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.