Smart technology ensures the production line never stops

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In addition to quality, which is of course essential for both the company and the customer, the efficient use of capacities is a crucial aspect of production. Efficient use means minimizing downtime, which in turn means minimizing faults that cause downtime. Faults can be avoided by reinforced preventive measures, but this is expensive, or by more intensive maintenance when faults appear, which is demanding in terms of personnel and qualification. “Using modern technologies, digitization and data collection to estimate when a given piece of equipment is about to fail, and fix it before the fault or shutdown occurs, is the form maintenance,” explains Marek Jancák, Head of Automotive Production at ŠKODA.

This approach is called predictive maintenance and is one of the pillars of ŠKODA’s maintenance strategy until 2025. One of the first projects in this area is the deployment of predictive maintenance in hall M13. Here, a solution called MAGIC EYE is used to monitor the condition and detect faults of the moving beams the cars hang from as they move down the line, and also to do the same for the so-called shins, which are essentially the power and data interface for the equipment on the line.

MAGIC EYE monitors the status of the conveyors in the production hall.

The system consists of the necessary hardware, which is installed on one of the frames that run the line with the bodies, and of course advanced software. Artificial intelligence is a key element of the software. Six cameras are mounted on the chassis to monitor the status of various elements. A seventh camera is used to read QR codes which the system uses to determine where the scanning device is. The cameras are directly connected to a powerful on-frame computer, in which ten artificial neural networks perform parallel analysis of the collected photos.

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