Continental is continuing to expand its European production capacities, celebrating the groundbreaking ceremony for its first plant in Kaunas, Lithuania. From the second half of 2019, electronic components for the European market will be manufactured in the technology company’s new electronics plant. Components will include door and seat control units as well as gateways and units for intelligent glass control, whose film technology allows the vehicle glazing to be darkened automatically or via user input. Furthermore, short and long-range radar sensors for comfort and safety functions and the Assisted & Automated Control Unit (ADCU) – a safe & secure multipurpose processing platform ideally suited for applications in the realm of Highly Automated Driving – will be produced.
Continental will be investing €95 million over the next five years and will create around 1,000 new jobs. The recruiting phase has already been started, firstly focusing on production related areas such as Industrial Engineering, Logistics, Manufacturing Operations and Production, as well as Quality.
“The construction of our first plant in Lithuania is an important part of our growth strategy in Europe. We are glad that with the modern industrial region here in Kaunas, the excellent infrastructure and the highly qualified workforce, we have found the ideal location”, said Helmut Matschi, member of the Continental Executive Board and head of the Interior division.
“Lithuania for a while has been trying to attract the manufacturers of complex automotive electronics components. However, even capable of offering everything that is needed for the companies of this industry, Lithuania did not enter the list of investors due to the size of the market and the distance to the car manufacturers. ‘Continental’ is one of the first companies to notice the potential of the country and its coming is one of the factors that helped to map Lithuania in the map of this industry. As the manufacturers of automotive components carry out the most direct foreign investment projects in Europe, a great amount of opportunities now opens to Lithuania”, stated Virginijus Sinkevicius, the Minister of Economy.
“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 begun on the new site in Kaunas, spanning an initial 22,000 sq. m, including accommodating production, administration and warehousing facilities. The modular concept allows to further expand these components in the future as required. The plant fulfills Industry 4.0 requirements, which means that it will be possible in the future to use, for example, Automated Guided Vehicles. When it comes to sustainability and the environment, the construction is abiding by strict requirements and standards.
To ensure that the energy in the future buildings can be utilized as efficiently as possible, an energy simulation was performed as early as the conceptual phase, which was then used as a basis for specifically selecting energy-efficient solutions and materials. The energy efficiency of the site has been verified by the internationally recognized LEED Gold certification for sustainability.
Furthermore, the selection of construction materials has focused not only on technical suitability, but also on good performance in a detailed life cycle analysis conducted by the Baltic Engineers architecture firm, which was commissioned by Continental.
For the employees, the new plant has a 360 sq. m sports center for various activities as well as a recreational area with benches and a natural pond.
Continental specifically selected the site in Kaunas, explains Shayan Ali, Managing Director of Continental in Lithuania: “Kaunas is Lithuania’s industrial center and the nation’s leading electronics and automation hub. At the same time, its population of 47,000 students – around 10 percent of whom are specializing in electronics manufacture – puts a wealth of technical know-how at our disposal, so we are expecting to gain some highly qualified employees. All in all, Kaunas is the perfect location for our new plant.”