Skoda uses AI-driven camera system to identify maintenance needs on assembly line

Škoda Auto among first companies in the Czech Republic to use AI-supported predictive maintenance; AI-based ‘Magic Eye’ camera system uses image analysis to detect deviations in the process.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 23 Feb 2023 Views icon2964 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Skoda Auto is using AI-based image recognition to ensure timely identification of maintenance needs on the assembly line.

At the main plant in Mlada Boleslav, the Skoda FabLab has installed a system that continuously monitors the assembly line equipment. It is connected to a computer that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect irregularities in the processes and identify any required maintenance work. With this initiative, Skoda becomes one of the first companies in the Czech Republic to use the possibilities of AI-supported predictive maintenance.

“At Skoda Auto, we are committed to predictive maintenance as a means to ensure that our production equipment is always in perfect shape. An AI system constantly checks the current process status against the optimal baseline conditions. It’s taught to identify certain patterns, constantly adding to its knowledge base and recognising changes immediately. This enables us to react promptly, optimises the efficiency of our processes and ensures the best possible utilisation of our production capacities,” said Miroslav Stejskal, Predictive Maintenance Coordinator, Skoda Auto Central Technical Service

Cameras on assembly line’s overhead conveyor
The images of equipment and parts subject to wear, such as girders, bolts or cabling, are captured by cameras on the overhead conveyor of the assembly line. As soon as the AI-based computer connected to the camera detects irregularities in the process, or a need for maintenance actions, it flags them in real time.

‘Magic Eye’ instantly compares its high-precision photographs against thousands of stored images. This enables it to detect departures from the optimal baseline conditions and to identify sources of error. The use of blue light ensures that the AI tool reliably differentiates between cracks and scratches and makes the correct diagnoses. In addition, the system continuously expands its knowledge base. If it finds a worn bolt, for example, it marks the spot as error-free as soon as the part has been replaced and checked again. To evaluate detected deviations, the system uses information on irregularities it has identified in the past.

Magic Eye deployed on Enyaq iV and Octavia assembly lines
Škoda is using ‘Magic Eye’ at its main plant in Mlada Boleslav, on the assembly line for the Enyaq iV and Octavia models.

To enable further optimisation of the system and accelerate wider integration at the Mlada Boleslav and Kvasiny sites, the FabLab has simulated a section of the assembly line. This ‘implementation arena’ can be used to experiment with different camera settings, configure system parameters and simulate damage to the assembly line. 

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