How ŠKODA AUTO maximizes the loading capacity of shipping containers and saves 160 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year

to calculate the right pallet combination

time for testing and PoC phase

ŠKODA AUTO is constantly improving its products and customer services. It does not lag even with increasing efficiency and optimizing processes, including those in and outside production halls.

Every week, the car manufacturer despatches around two thousand pallets full of components and materials.

Optimization algorithms packaged in the OPTIKON application, created in collaboration with Blindspot.AI, a member of the Adastra Group, help with sea container space utilization and efficient pallet handling and arrangement in container space.

Transporting air is neither economical nor environmentally friendly

From the logistics center in Mladá Boleslav, containers loaded with pallets of parts destined for vehicle assembly abroad are shipped daily. The carmaker handled the loading of the 78 cubic meter containers using manuals and the experience of its staff. They devised the ideal combinations of the various pallet sizes to be loaded, but it was often difficult to ensure that:

  • the containers were not loaded primarily with more space-appropriate pallets,  
  • the containers were loaded efficiently with less space-efficient pallets,  
  • containers loaded with less suitable pallets were correctly balanced.  

The human brain could only fill a container from 71 cubic meters. Transporting unfilled containers and therefore “air” is uneconomical and uneconomical. Furthermore, finding new pallet loading combinations was becoming increasingly complex while simultaneously making it more challenging for manufacturers to come close to the established loading criteria. ŠKODA AUTO therefore decided to look for a solution that would “expand the human brain”.

Together with our strategic partner, Blindspot from the Adastra Group, we developed the OPTIKON system to solve our challenges with loading pallets into containers. Thanks to Blindspot’s experts’ proactive and highly professional approach, we developed and deployed the algorithms considering all our needs and constraints related to loading in a short time.
Petr Švarc, Head of AI Competence Centre, ŠKODA AUTO

Within 30 seconds, OPTIKON suggests the ideal pallet combination for maximum container filling

Many limiting conditions need to be taken into account when optimizing loading. These include the time required to calculate the appropriate pallet combination. In this case, logistics processes limit the time to 30 seconds.However, the previous container loading planning process took more time and provided less efficiency.

At the beginning of 2019, ŠKODA AUTO joined forces with Blindspot and together we started working on a prototype and subsequent testing of a solution that would improve the process. In the same year, the AI-based technology that now helps with the entire process went into operation. The OPTIKON system was created, which allows workers to easily use a tablet to determine the best possible pallet layout for a container.OPTIKON calculates the optimum number of different types of pallets, of which the car plant uses two thousand.

It then suggests the best way to place them in the container. The system considers the dimensions and weight of the pallets and the material on the pallets and ensures that the total weight is correctly distributed in the container. The application can also check that the pallets loaded into the container are the ones to be loaded and transported in a given week.

The solution is deployed in the Microsoft Azure cloud ecosystem and is built on top of the Optim-AI optimization platform, which we also worked on together with ŠKODA AUTO.

The project’s first phase, which included PoC and testing, was completed in just three months.

The entire OPTIKON system was deployed in the production environment a few months later in the same year.

840 000 Euro

saved during the first year of use

160 tonnes of CO2

emissions saved

300 containers

fewer were shipped during the first year of use

systemic errors

systemic packaging errors are easier to detect

training

new employees is now easier

CO2 savings: thanks to OPTIKON, ŠKODA dispatches five fewer fully loaded trainsets per year

Thanks to OPTIKON, ŠKODA Auto has optimized the logistics of automotive parts and increased the utilization of each shipping container by 3 cubic meters to a total of 74 cubic meters.

As a result, the company dispatched five fewer fully loaded trainsets last year, saving approximately 160 tonnes CO2.     

ŠKODA AUTO chce systém OPTIKON nabízet i jiným značkám v rámci skupiny, aby také mohly využít benefitů umělé inteligence.

Are you interested in a similar solution? Contact us.

Zdeněk Hruška
Ředitel divize Výroba & Automotive

Case Studies

Eurowag built a data lake in the cloud in under a year

Sales, customers and the financial statements for completed acquisitions are...

Read more

Get inspired on our blog

Data Scalability and Protection Are Key in Handling Petabytes From Our Self-Driving Vehicle Tests (Jan Zahradník, Valeo)

In a world where data volumes are measured in exabytes, Valeo is striving to become a leading player in the autonomous vehicles sector. "Data...

Read more

Adastra becomes a strategic partner of Škoda Auto University. Its specialists will teach data management, data science, and artificial intelligence courses

Adastra becomes a long-term strategic partner of Škoda Auto University. Its experts will be involved in teaching data management, data science, and artificial intelligence...

Read more

Czech companies are still getting used to generative AI. They are afraid primarily of inaccuracies in the information generated and loss of company data 

Roughly half of large Czech companies have not yet fully addressed generative AI. A total of 21% of firms allow unrestricted use of ChatGPT,...

Read more