This plant was built and ready for production just 15 months after the foundation work began in July of last year. Gitanas Nausėda, the President of Lithuania, and Nikolai Setzer, a member of the Executive Board of “Continental Automotive” and a member of the Management Board of the Concern, launched the production line on which the first product of the factory was produced. About 350 guests attended the event, including factory staff, members of the “Continental Automotive” board, partners and other representatives from regional and national organizations, politicians and representatives of various educational institutions. “This is a truly historic moment – the largest automotive electronics component factory has started operating in our country. This is a significant boost to the local economy and will contribute to the overall well-being of residents of Lithuania. The “Continental Automotive Lithuania” plant will help Lithuania plunge deeper into the whirlwind of a new industrial revolution,” said Gitanas Nausėda, President of the Republic of Lithuania.
“After more than two years of planning and construction, I am honored to officially introduce and monitor the launch of our new plant in Kaunas. We have built a state-of-the-art automotive electronics component factory that utilizes the latest Industry 4.0 technology and meets sustainable performance standards,” says Nikolai Setzer, a member of the “Continental” Executive Board.
“I am really happy to confirm that we are on track with the schedule and that Lithuania is meeting all our expectations. We have been able to prepare the building for production in 15 months and at the same time bring together a strong team of nearly 200 professionals. It’s really impressive,” says Shayan Ali, Managing Director of “Continental Automotive Lithuania”.
Employees will start their work in the factory in the Q4 of 2019. To date, “Continental Automotive Lithuania” has hired 190 employees from more than 10 different countries and is planning to have over 1,000 employees by 2021. The initial investment of 95 million euros is expected to be absorbed over the next few years.
Products manufactured in Kaunas will be mainly exported to European markets. It will produce electronic components, including car door and seat controls, electronic assemblies and electrochromic glass units, which allow you to reduce the light transmission of your car windows automatically or according to the user settings. This plant will also assemble short- and long-range radar sensors used for comfort and safety functions, as well as auxiliary and automated control modules. These modules serve as a versatile platform for the development of advanced autonomous vehicles.
An exceptional focus on environment and sustainability
The new factory in Kaunas Free Economic Zone, which currently occupies an area of 22 thousand square meters, consists of production, administrative and warehouse premises. It has been designed to create an innovative, integrative and future-oriented work environment. The factory in Kaunas is a flagship project for other “Continental” construction projects around the world. The experience gained from this project is already being applied to new “Continental” plants in Aguascalientes, Mexico and Debrecen, Hungary. The factory in Kaunas is characterized by state-of-the-art technical cleanliness and meets the highest standards of the automotive industry. In addition, this plant was designed and built with an exceptional focus on the environment and sustainability.
It is the first ”Continental Automotive” plant project to receive the internationally recognized Gold LEED Certificate for its sustainable solutions. In order to be certified, factory construction must meet stringent requirements and standards. The “Continental” plant has built-in smart solutions with building and energy management systems that control building parameters based on the real-time demand. For example, if there’s more people in the building than usual, automated controls provide a more efficient ventilation, and if it’s cold outside, the premises are automatically heated more. In order to ensure the most efficient use of energy, energy modeling has already been carried out at the design stage of the project, and subsequently used as a basis for selecting energy efficient solutions and materials. In the future, the company plans to use energy from renewable sources, using solar panels installed in the area. Kaunas plant will not use any single-use plastic and will follow a strict sorting policy.
The factory is Industry 4.0 compliant. This means that the flexible design and layout of the plant allows the automated AGV vehicles to be adapted to transport components to the assembly area. It also enables the use of a smart warehouse management system, a computerized maintenance management system, a building automation and energy management system, etc. The layout of the new plant reflects a modern approach to business, with great emphasis on the comfort and well-being of the employees. A separate sports center with an outdoor terrace, an open-air court and a space where factory staff can watch sports events together is planned. In addition, a walk-in recreation area with benches and a pond to collect rainwater is planned.
“Continental” is developing innovative technologies and services for the sustainable mobility of people and freight. Founded in 1871, the company offers safe, efficient, affordable and smart solutions for vehicles, traffic management and transportation. In 2017, “Continental” revenue reached 44 billion euros. The company currently employs more than 243,000 people in 60 countries worldwide.