“We have decided that Lithuania is the perfect location for the development expansion of the company’s most innovative products”
The US agricultural machinery producer Kinze is ready to expand its operations in Lithuania by establishing an electronic product development centre in Vilnius. The company expects to employ about 25 highly qualified electronics professionals and programme system engineers over the next three years in the new centre.
“The decision to set up one of our most important centres in Vilnius has been taken very quickly,” says Brian McKown, Executive Director at Kinze. “We have been producing products in Lithuania for 4 years and we are happy with the work ethic and competencies of the country’s specialists. Therefore, after obtaining data and analysis from Invest Lithuania on the research potential and market competencies Lithuania can offer, and having verified the possibilities once more during a visit, we have decided that Lithuania is the perfect location for the development expansion of the company’s most innovative products,” Mr. McKown explains.
The company began operating in Lithuanian in 2013: it produces agricultural machinery in the Trakai district. In the new R&D centre in Vilnius, the company will develop rugged electronic controllers and software for mechanical equipment that will be installed in agricultural machinery and other IOT industries to maximize efficiency and usability.
These electronic systems are expected to be even more widely used in the future, thanks in part to their resistance to moisture, chemicals, intense vibrations, dust and other extreme natural and climatic conditions. This ruggedization makes them ideal for use in agriculture, and these technologies may also have applications in railway transport and various other systems in the future.
The specialists in Kinze’s Vilnius team will be responsible for mechanical equipment, electronic hardware and software, user interface development, testing, and bringing the final products to market. These systems will also be installed in the machinery Kinze already produces in Lithuania; the company expects this to result in increased demand for this production in the market too.
According to Gediminas Koryzna, Head of the Investment Promotion Department at Invest Lithuania, small-scale production units with high-added value like Kinze’s new centre have an important role to play in the continued development of Lithuania’s economy. “Recently, Lithuania has attracted a number of large manufacturers, and this trend represents an important breakthrough in the history of investment attraction to the country,” Mr Koryzna points out. “Nevertheless, Lithuania must continue to focus on how to rise up the value chain: that is, how can investors be encouraged to establish small, high added-value research and product development centres near large plants. The IT sector has gradually transformed in this way, and manufacturing should move in the same direction,” concludes Mr Koryzna.
Kinze Manufacturing was established in 1965 by Jon Kinzenbaw and is still owned by the Kinzenbaw family. Today, the company, which started as a small agricultural machinery repair workshop, is one of the world’s leading producers of innovative, durable and efficient machinery for sowing, planting and grain transportation.
The company currently employs more than 400 workers, with its only divisions located in the USA and Lithuania.