EQUIPMENT FOR THE TEAM
Car production cannot do without specialised tools, instruments and jigs that range from apparent trifles to multi-tonne moulds. Toolmakers help to transform designers’ ideas into series production.
The Tool Shop in Mladá Boleslav has been running for 120 years and opened during the era of L&K bicycles and motorcycles. At that time, skilled toolmakers were making models for the manual hammering of arches, as well as drill bits and files. The L&K jacks-of-all-trades’ masterpieces included their own lathes, grinders and milling machines.
The introduction of conveyor belt production in 1929 led to enormous progress and new tasks for the Tool Shop; models and dies for American body presses soon appeared. The fleet of modern automatons grew in numbers, too.
Toolmakers were also tested in 1952 when the process switched to all-metal bodies. They initially struggled with the unsatisfactory quality of the sheets and dies: The underlying models made of wood would deform, while those made of plaster would swell up. In 1965, they were replaced with expanded polystyrene, which burned out in a controlled manner when in contact with the hot alloy. It was a tough nut to crack, but they did it!
The milestones of the Tool Shop in Mladá Boleslav also include the development and production of the first automatic machining line in Czechoslovakia, used for cylinder heads. With the launch of the first modern generation of the ŠKODA OCTAVIA (1996), the Tool Shop expanded its scope to include welding jigs and lines. In the Czech plants of ŠKODA AUTO, tools are now manufactured on an area of over 40,000 m2. Pressing, welding and metallurgical tools are designed and produced there, even for other Group brands.
The most famous filemaker
The famous racer Václav Vondřich, nicknamed the Travelling Blacksmith, was recruited from among the ranks of skilled toolmakers. He started as a filemaker (file manufacturing was a tradition in his family), and in 1905 he became the unofficial world champion in Dourdan near Paris on his two-cylinder L&K motorcycle. Later he was in charge of the main Prague store of the L&K and then the ŠKODA brands.
… as early as 1964, ŠKODA AUTO was the first European carmaker to introduce the die casting of aluminium engine blocks into steel moulds for its ŠKODA 1000 MB serial model? The licence was later bought by the French carmaker Renault.