Skoda bets big on Industry 4.0, opens automatic parts warehouse at main plant

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 13 Nov 2018


Skoda Auto is pressing ahead with the implementation of technologies in line with Industry 4.0 principles. The Czech carmaker today opened an automatic small parts warehouse at the main plant in Mladá Boleslav. The project is in line with the digitalisation of its production – a key pillar of its 2025 Strategy.

The high level of automation makes it possible to increase the efficiency of work processes in the plant’s small parts logistics. One example of this is the use of robots which put small parts into storage and transport them directly from the warehouse to the assembly line. Skoda Auto has been operating a similar small parts warehouse in Kvasiny for around one year.

Michael Oeljeklaus, Skoda Auto Board Member for Production and Logistics, said, “Last year, we were already able to significantly improve the production logistics processes at our Kvasiny plant. We are now also taking the efficiency of the processes at our main plant to a new level with the new automatic small parts warehouse. The warehouse in Mladá Boleslav is considerably larger and optimally prepares the plant for the future demands of car manufacturing with state-of-the-art technology in line with the principles of Industry 4.0.”

Oeljeklaus officially opened the new automatic small parts warehouse (ASPW) together with Jiří Cee, Head of Brand Logistics, and Kovo Union MB representative, Miloš Kovář. The warehouse has been in operation since July 2018. Skoda Auto has invested around 8 million euros in the construction of the small parts warehouse.

The high level of automation makes it possible to further increase the efficiency of work processes in the Czech car manufacturer’s small parts logistics. One example of this is the use of robots which put small parts into storage and transport them directly from the warehouse to the assembly line.

Applying Industry 4.0 in earnest
The ASPW is rigorously applying Industry 4.0 principles. The small parts are now stored and removed from the respective shelves fully automatically. From there, they are delivered to the assembly line just-in-sequence as required. This means that they arrive in exactly the order in which they are required and fitted.

Automation makes it possible to further increase working precision, accelerate logistics processes and further minimise the error rate. Robots take the strain off the employees by taking on the physically demanding work. This frees up the employees’ time for tasks such as scanning labels or moving small load carriers (SLC) in the incoming and outgoing goods areas.

Covering 2,000 square metres , the new ASPW in Mladá Boleslav offers plenty of space for 71,000 small load carriers. Per hour, up to 580 of these small plastic crates can be stored in the shelves which are 14 metres high. The same number of SLCs can be handled in order picking, i.e. outgoing goods. Two robots store the parts and two other robots take them out and deliver them just-in-sequence to production.

In July 2017, Skoda opened a similar small parts warehouse at its Kvasiny plant, offering space for 45,000 SLCs. In June 2018, the company was awarded the expert audience prize at the ELA European Logistics Awards for the Kvasiny warehouse.