Sydney, Australia (PressExposure) November 19, 2009 -- At the opening ceremony for a new exhibition at the ├ů┬ákoda Auto Museum today, the automaker celebrated 110 years of constant engine production in Mlad├â┬í Boleslav.
This is to mark the anniversary of the first official ride on the first Laurin & Klement motorbike and its successful presentation to reporters on 18 November 1899 in Prague.
Messrs V├â┬íclav Laurin and V├â┬íclav Klement were generally inspired in 1898 by the by the Werner Brothers' motocyclette, designed in Paris. In contrast to Werners, they located the engine inside the frame and all the control elements were placed in the handlebars. They started production at the turn of 1898 and 1899. The first tests took place in 1898, and Laurin and Klement started to offer the motorcycles to their customers in 1899.
"There are very few companies that have been producing personal means of transport with their own engine constantly for 110 years. And with their headquarters in the same place as well. A number of companies that were formed at that time ended their activities a long time ago or changed their range. Others simply became assembly plants. However, in Mlad├â┬í Boleslav we have been involved in the production and development of means of transport since 1895. They were originally bicycles, but a motorcycle of our own design was added in 1899," said ├ů┬ákoda Auto Archive Manager Luk├â┬í├ů┬í Nachtmann of the anniversary.
The biggest weakness in the first engine was the ignition, originally based on a flame system. The flame of the ignition lamp kept going out, so the company started to experiment with electric ignition using batteries. This was also not a success, so Messrs Laurin and Klement started to communicate with Robert Bosche's company. However, they only used this very expensive equipment as a source of information. Based on this they developed their own system, where the electrical current for ignition was produced by an inductor located under the engine and driven by a chain.
In addition to the generally known petrol engines for cars, units for other uses were produced: winches for hot-air balloons during World War I, cooling units in the 1960s-80s, etc. We should not forget L&K's licensed aeroplane engines--Lorraine Dietrich and ├ů┬ákoda--Hispano Suiza. The first aeroplane engines of their own design were produced in 1910.
Engine production began in today's form on 20 December 2001 in the M6 hall--the "new engine shop" at the Mlad├â┬í Boleslav plant. Engine production provides work for 600 people. 2,800 units come off the lines every day. There are two high-performance versions of a 1.2 HTP three-cylinder spark ignition engine and from this year also a 1.2 TSI 77 kW petrol forced-induction engine. Completion assembly of 1.4 MPI engines, as well as 1.4 TDI PD, 2.0 TDI PD and 2.0 TDI CR diesel engines, is also performed.
├ů┬ákoda Auto also produces gearboxes and axles. Gearboxes have been produced in Mlad├â┬í Boleslav since 1 January 2001, also in the M6 hall, with a production capacity of up to 2,900 a day. 800 employees are involved in gearbox production. The automaker's main product is the MQ 200 manual five-speed gearbox.
The engines and gearboxes from Mlad├â┬í Boleslav can be found in ├ů┬ákodas and also in other group models, such as the Audi, Seat and VW.
Important moments in engine production at ├ů┬ákoda Auto:1895 - Establishment of Laurin a Klement1899 - Presentation of first motorcycle (and engine) by L&K to reporters1905 - Launch of first L&K engine in a car (Voiturette L&K Type A)1907 - One of the first eight-cylinder engines in the world produced1925 - The production of engines and cars with the winged arrow on the badge begins in Ml. Boleslav1964 - Start of production of the 990 Type engine (├ů┬ákoda 1000 MB) in new facilities--the M2 hall, today the "old engine shop," it was a pressure-cast block from aluminium alloy. Cars with an engine in the rear were produced from 1964-1990 1987 - The ├ů┬ákoda engine went back under the bonnet for the first time in the company's modern history, in the Favorit1991 - Link-up with the Volkswagen group1997 - ├ů┬ákoda delivers the first engine to the VW group (1.0l 37kW)2001 - Production of 1.2l HTP and MQ200 gearboxes in the new M6 hall began2009 - Production of the 1.2l TSI engine began