Škoda Auto, MATADOR Group and KUKA have come together in the town of Vrchlabí, Czech Republic, for a manufacturing initiative without borders or fences. This is happening in an automobile factory that produces direct-shift-gearbox automatic transmissions. There, an industrial robot does what industrial robots do best: grow productivity, reduce costs and improve output quality.
Precision as a high requirement
In this particular case, the KUKA lightweight robot LBR iiwa inserts gear actuator pistons into the transmissions – precisely and gently doing a very repetitive task. “This kind of transmission has very high requirements for precision,” says Ivan Slimák, General Manager at the Vrchlabí plant. “For example, we have a lot of moving parts with very, very tight tolerances.”
Common journey: Human-Robot teamwork and Industry 4.0
Human-robot collaboration on the factory floor has entered a new dimension following removal of the safety fencing that normally surrounds industrial robots. Škoda Auto, MATADOR Group and KUKA are the corporate descendants of firms that began business on the periphery of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Their combined journeys have taken them from the conclusion of the Industrial Revolution to the commencement of Industry 4.0 in which humans and robots increasingly work together and factories become more data driven.
A three-cornered venture
With roots starting in 19th century bicycle making, Škoda Auto has been making vehicles for more than a century and has been a part of the Volkswagen Group since 1991. The MATADOR Group is also more than 100 years old, and has increasingly focused on digital factories and Industry 4.0. KUKA, a global leader in the creation of industrial robots and solutions for factory automation, is a key enabler in this three-cornered venture that involves hardware, software and, especially, people.