IT AND DATA TECHNICIANS
Computer technology is now ubiquitous: from design and the organisation of production to distribution and even air conditioning control at the workplace. How did earlier generations manage without it?
Machine-numerical station staff diligently working with punched labels (1960s)
A lready at the time of First Republic, ŠKODA’s accounting offices were frequently using computing machines: All that was needed was to enter numbers mechanically and perform the numerical operation by turning a handle. For more than 110 years, various devices were used to register employees, from turnstiles to machines registering attendance hours with punched items.
In the post-war era, automatic machines were used in the so-called machine-calculation station, which processed data stored on punched labels or tapes. In the 1960s, they were used in AZNP, for example, to invoice manufactured spare parts.
However, there was a big change in 1969, when the carmaker bought a top mainframe computer. Fortunately, the order had been signed a few days before the country’s occupation in August 1968, after which the Americans would no longer have approved it. However, hard currency was lacking, so several cars were exported from Mladá Boleslav to Austria. This was exchanged for vegetables, which were sold for schillings to pay for the American IBM 360/30 device. It was a computer from the same series that would help to land the Apollo 11 crew on the moon! The computer handled a previously unprecedented 30,000 computing operations per second (today, an ordinary smartphone would outclass it). At the time, however, it performed optimisation calculations in planning, costing and invoicing for the carmaker. The computer was taken care of by two trained technicians and had no electronic malfunctions in 20 years. Only consumption-related issues had to be addressed: The printer chains had to be exchanged, and the magnetic tape head needed to be cleaned.
The current capacity of our data centre’s ecological mainframe supercomputer is more than 106 billion times higher and can handle 3.2 quadrillion operations per second. With its help, the carmaker’s employees are carrying out, among other things, extremely demanding aerodynamics calculations. Today, ŠKODA AUTO is one of the leading IT companies in the Czech Republic.
It was staffed by a trained team of computer technicians