Rolls-Royce innovation award winner expands in Panevėžys creating 100 jobs

Jan 5, 2018
Rifas expands production facility in Lithuania
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RIFAS, a designer and producer of electrotechnical systems, is expanding its production in Panevėžys. The company, which belongs to the Estonian capital group Harju Elekter, aims to expand its production premises threefold, creating 100 new jobs over the next three years.

“Industrious and creative people live in Panevėžys and the quality of life in this city is excellent, so we are sure that with the development of RIFAS and other companies, Panevėžys has great prospects to grow and develop its export-orientated production. Historically, Panevėžys has always been famous for its well-developed electronics and electrotechnics industry,” said Andres Allikmae, Chairman of the Board at Harju Elekter.

Currently, RIFAS is operating in production premises totalling to 2,500 square metres, which by the end of 2018 will expand to 7,500 square metres. The company plans to employ 100 electrotechnical equipment installers and electrical and 3D mechanical engineers, who will be trained at the company. They will design and produce electrotechnical systems according to order, intended for use at industrial enterprises and on new-generation shipping vessels.

To prepare the professionals, the company intends to cooperate with higher and vocational education and training institutions in Panevėžys, the Klaipėda Higher Maritime School and the Visaginas Technology and Business Vocational Education and Training Centre. The company itself plans to confer some of the skills to both new and existing workers. There have been success stories where young specialists without an engineering education who began their careers as installers went on to become highly qualified engineers.

“The developments at RIFAS for the Panevėžys region mean not only the creation of new jobs and skills but also a significant contribution to the region’s economy. Goods and services for the company’s operations are supplied by approximately one hundred suppliers, so RIFAS’s development will also promote the creation of new jobs in this business sector,” said Minister of Economy Virginijus Sinkevičius.

“Only this year, when several producers of automotive components rushed to the Kaunas region, we started to think about the rising demand for electronics specialists. But if there is a sufficient number of professionals, this sector can energise the economies of other regions too. Panevėžys historically has a strong electronics industry, but RIFAS and other potential investors need not just experienced but also curious specialists who are keen to learn. According to the management at RIFAS, today a greater number and more powerful technologies than before need to fit inside the same space of a ship. And for this, exceptional capabilities are necessary,” said Mantas Katinas, Director General of the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency Invest Lithuania.

All products designed and produced by RIFAS are exported abroad. The company’s major partners are based in Norway, Finland, Austria and the Netherlands, but the company’s products are also used in projects that have been executed in countries in North America and Asia.

This year, the Panevėžys company received a Rolls-Royce Marine award for innovations, for its electricity distribution and control system SAVe CUBE, installed in new-generation semi-automated ships. In future, this system designed and produced in Panevėžys will also be used in fully automated ships. In 2017, RIFAS also was awarded for innovations by Panevėžys city municipality.

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