ŠKODA AUTO harnessing smart manufacturing technology
In an announcement made by ŠKODA AUTO, the automotive manufacturer reported the opening of its new Mladá Boleslav centre that will harness state-of-the-art technologies to build test vehicles and prototypes. Technologies used by ŠKODA AUTO include robot stations and virtual reality solutions throughout the entire production process.
“The use of test cars allows us to draw conclusions about numerous technical parameters at an early stage of development and make the necessary adjustments long before serial production of a new model commences. We are now taking the next step. In future, we will build 300 test vehicles and 120 prototypes per year with maximum efficiency under one roof in our new, state-of-the-art facility at the Mladá Boleslav site. We have created the ideal conditions here to develop vehicles at the highest level and that will shape the future of our brand,” commented Johannes Neft, .
The new centre expands on ŠKODA AUTO’s efforts to meet the requirements for the increasingly complex and powerful electronic architecture of modern vehicles, focusing on functional tests of electrics, electronics and assistance systems, as well as on communication between in-car computers
“Our new facility has three floors and houses the parts warehouse, body shop, final assembly and paint shop, all within the smallest of footprints ensuring short distances. At the same time, the facility’s high degree of automation allows for more agile processes and a significant increase in production capacity for test vehicles and prototypes. Furthermore, the building features state-of-the-art virtual reality technologies as well as 168 workplaces in open-space offices and 13 meeting rooms. A large part of the complex – 14,000 m² – is used for vehicle manufacture,” added David Vaněk, Head of Model and Prototype Manufacture.
Features of ŠKODA AUTO’s new centre
- Two robot stations, increasing automation in the body shop from 15% to 45%, double the capacity to 10 car bodies a week, while taking up 20% less space
- An innovation centre for testing joining techniques, such as clinching, riveting, flow drill screw (FDS) fastening, laser welding and composite construction
- Virtual reality to allow for pre configuration and customisation of workstations
- State-of-the-art IT systems for logistics
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.