Skoda has opened a new paint shop at its main plant in Mladá Boleslav.

Up to 168,000 car bodies will be coated with paint at the site each year, taking the plant's total annual painting capacity up to 812,000 vehicles.

Skoda has invested EUR214.5m (US$237.4m) in the new building, creating more than 650 new jobs.

"By opening the new paint shop, we are making our main plant in Mladá Boleslav stronger for the long term," said Skoda CEO, Bernhard Maier.

"It is a key component of our growth trajectory that we are rigorously continuing as part of our 2025 Strategy. This allows us to increase our capacity and therefore meet the high customer demand much more effectively.

"At the same time, we have created more than 650 new jobs at Skoda's headquarters, making a considerable contribution towards strengthening the Czech Republic as an automotive hub."

The painting technologies include a fully autonomous system for transporting the individual bodies during pre-treatment and primer application. The conveyor system enables the process parameters for each car to be selected individually. In traditional painting lines, such customisation is not possible because the bodies are transported using chain conveyors.

All the data from the production process is electronically matched with the identity of the relevant car and transmitted via radio to the individual workstations, allowing the appropriate materials to be used.

With regards to the choice of technical equipment, Skoda placed particular importance on low energy consumption. One example is the new paint shop's drying technology: to offset the differences in temperature between solid, high-strength body components and light sheets of metal when baking the various paint layers, central recuperators blow hot air into certain areas. This way, Skoda reduces the amount of energy used to dry the layers of paint by up to 20%.

A wet brush system for cleaning the car bodies enables the sealant and primer to be baked at the same time – which means the facility can forego an entire drying step and therefore does not have to heat and cool the bodywork.

The painting robots have a seventh rotational axis in their cantilever arm, meaning one robot can coat car bodies with a total surface area of up to 108 sq m. To put this in perspective: the average surface area of present-day passenger cars is 88 sq m.

The new paint shop features a system which thermally disposes of all emissions. This allows Skoda to reduce its production-related emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) created during the painting process by 36%.

At 35m high and featuring seven storeys, the new paint shop is now the tallest building at Skoda's main plant in Mladá Boleslav. 

The Czech car manufacturer groups its environmental activities under the umbrella of its GreenFuture strategy. Investments such as the eco-friendly paint shop fall under GreenFactory and form an important pillar of the brand's sustainability strategy.

In Skoda's recently published sustainability report, the company revealed it was able to reduce the environmental impact of its vehicle production by 56.1% between 2010 and 2018.

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