The largest machining center in Europe worth about 100 million crowns began to operate over the weekend in Ostrava-based company Škoda Vagonka, which has just celebrated 120 years since its foundation. This subsidiary of the Škoda Transportation group has put a unique machine into operation, thanks to which it can machine giant oversized aluminum parts. This machine weighing a total of 360 tons with a length of fifty meters and a width of ten meters will be used in Ostrava for the production of railway vehicles for customers in the country and abroad. The company will thus significantly increase its production capacity and streamline the production of new trains.
"The development and innovation of our production are key for us at this time. The new machining center is unrivaled in size and will allow us to work much more efficiently, both in terms of time and cost. In recent years, we have been really successful under our new owner, PPF Group, which is why we are investing in companies not only in our Škoda in Ostrava, but also in Plzeň and Šumperk. In Ostrava, we will not only double the production area, but also the number of employees, which will increase from 450 to 900," says Petr Brzezina, Chairman of the Board of Directors and President of the Škoda Transportation group.
The machining center, which was supplied to Škoda by Strojírna Tyc, is the most modern and largest facility of its kind in Europe. Its dimensions are astounding - the length of the machine itself reaches almost fifty meters, and the maximum dimension of a workpiece that the machine can hold will be 39 × 4.5 meters, while the machining accuracy will be in the hundredths of millimeters. The machining center consists of two independent portals with a continuously controlled 5-axis head at up to 12,000 rpm.
"The new machining center will double the company's capacity to machine oversized parts. Thanks to this, we will be able to newly machine aluminum weldments and subassemblies of wide-gauge cabinets for vehicle projects intended for Latvian Railways, for example," adds CEO and Chairman of the Board of Škoda Vagonka, Martin Bednarz.
The new machining center in the production hall of Ostrava-based Vagonka occupies an area as large as half of an Olympic swimming pool. During the construction, it was necessary to dig out a thousand cubic meters of soil, which represents about 150 trucks of material. The builders used 700 cubic meters of concrete and 40 tons of fittings and reinforcement to build the foundation. The biggest challenge, however, was planting 138 hammered concrete piles at a depth of nine to eleven meters. The resistance of the foundations for settling the machine was verified by stress deformation tests.
The installation of this unique machine is part of an extensive investment project titled "Nová Vagonka". "The total investment is almost on billion crowns. We are thus preparing for a significant increase in the volume of production that we will implement thanks to new contracts for the supply of electrical units," says Martin Bednarz. Thanks to the expansion of the complex and extensive investments in Škoda Vagonka, the number of assembled cars per month will increase significantly and the production of rough aluminum constructions will increase fivefold.
In the near future, the company will work mainly on single-deck electrical units for customers in the Czech Republic, Slovakia or Latvia and push-pull trains for the Moravian-Silesian Region. In addition, technological know-how in the area of control, multimedia and diagnostic systems of the Škoda Digital subsidiary will be concentrated in Ostrava.
The Škoda Transportation group also invests hundreds of millions of crowns in its companies in Plzeň and Šumperk. Here, too, it is searching for hundreds of new employees.