Continental is continuing to expand its manufacturing base in Europe and has broken ground for its first plant in Lithuania on July 20. The plant is located in Kaunas and will specialize in the production of electronic components for automobiles. The plant is expected to become operational by the second half of 2019. The components that will be manufactured at the plant will include door and seat control units. The factory will also make gateways and units for intelligent glass control, which will incorporate film technology that makes it possible for vehicle glazing to be darkened either automatically or through user input. Other products made at the plant will include short and long-range radar sensors which will be a part of the comfort and safety functions and the Assisted & Automated Control Unit (ADCU) – a safe and secure multipurpose processing platform that is likely to be used in vehicles having a high level of automation.
Continental plans to invest 95 million euros during the next five years in the plant which will have a workforce of 1,000 employees. The company has already started recruitment with production personnel including those handling logistics, industrial engineering, manufacturing, quality and production coming onboard first.
Commenting on the new plant, Helmut Matschi, member of the Continental Executive Board and head of the Interior division said that construction of the company’s first plant in Lithuania forms an important part of its growth strategy in Europe. He said that Kaunas is an ideal location for the plant thanks to its excellent infrastructure and the highly qualified workforce.
Virginijus Sinkevicius, Lithuania’s Minister of Economy said that the country has been trying for a while to attract the manufacturers of complex automotive electronics components. Though it offers everything that such companies might need, the small size of the market and the distance to automotive car manufacturers were two factories that held such companies back. Continental is one of the first companies that noticed the potential Lithuania offered.
“The market for automotive electronics is surging as the number of in-vehicle electronics systems continues to rise. With the latest addition to our global network of 30 electronics plants, we are continuing to expand our production capacity. This will enable us to meet the growing customer demand even more effectively,” said Dr. Hans-Jürgen Braun, head of Continental’s electronics plants.
Construction has already begun of Continental’s new highly modern plant which meets Industry 4.0 norms and is meant to initially cover an area of 22,000 square meters. This area includes production, administration and warehousing facilities. The plant will have a modular structure which will facilitate further expansion as needed. The fact that the plant fulfills Industry 4.0 requirements means that it would be possible to use sophisticated equipment like Automated Guided Vehicles. From the sustainability perspective, the construction is following highly strict environmental and sustainability requirements and standards.
Shayan Ali, managing director of Continental in Lithuania explained that Kaunas is Lithuania’s industrial center and a leading hub for the country’s electronics and automation industries. It also has a population of 47,000 students, of whom about 10 percent of whom are specializing in electronics manufacture, thus providing a ready pool of technical expertise. All these factors make Kaunas the perfect location for Continental’s new plant.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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