Škoda Auto’s Vrchlabí Plant: Ten Years of Producing Transmissions and Targeted Further Development
Transmission production was launched at the Škoda Auto plant in Vrchlabí ten years ago. The DQ200 dual-clutch transmissions produced there are used in the Czech carmaker’s models and vehicles built by other Volkswagen Group brands. Škoda Auto extensively uses Industry 4.0 technologies at the site, operating with net-zero CO2 emissions since the end of 2020.
The Vrchlabí plant was founded in 1864 and has been a Škoda Auto site since 1946. The company initially manufactured cars before converting the production facility into a state-of-the-art component plant.
A new factory hall was built within 18 months as part of the site’s radical transformation. Škoda Auto and the Volkswagen Group invested 170 million euros in this project. Škoda Auto has been producing DQ200 transmissions here since October 2012.
At first, around 530 employees would make 1,000 units a day; now, 2,340 messages are assembled daily by 850 staff. Most of these transmissions are used in vehicles from other Group brands, while around 38% are installed in Škoda cars.
Since the site’s conversion was completed, over 200 million euros have been invested in various initiatives and the plant’s further development; processes and operations have been widely digitalized and use technologies from the field of Industry 4.0. Cooperating robots assist with inserting the transmission piston, and an intelligent handling robot removes parts from containers and places them on the feed belt of the processing machine.
It removes the machined transmission parts and puts them in a transport basket. In addition, the work steps and processes required to set up robot workstations were digitally simulated in advance to continue operations. In contrast, the robots were being set up and integrated.
Since late 2020, the Vrchlabí plant has been Škoda Auto’s first CO2-neutral production site. State-of-the-art machines ensure optimum energy efficiency at the site, with some cooling lubricants being reused several times and lithium batteries installed in transport systems.
As one of the most important employers in the Hradec Králové region, the Czech car manufacturer takes its social responsibility seriously and actively participates in the area. Among other programmes, the company supplies bicycles to the Krkonoše National Park (KRNAP) and provides vehicles for social services. The car manufacturer also gives financial support within the framework of its endowment fund.
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