- Automotive supplier extends production at the Frenstat site in the Czech Republic and moves S&A development to nearby Ostrava
- Plans to increase the workforce of the new site to 200 employees in the medium term, with mainly development engineers comprising more than half
- With its renowned technical university, the third-largest city in the Czech Republic has the potential to provide a large highly skilled workforce
Regensburg, Ostrava (Czech Republic), May 9, 2014. International automotive supplier Continental is strengthening its presence in the Czech Republic: The Sensors & Actuators (S&A) Business Unit, which is part of the Continental Powertrain Division, has opened a competence center in Ostrava, which is responsible for worldwide research and development in the field of sensors and actuators. These high-tech systems play an increasingly important role in further reducing emissions and fuel consumption of highly efficient low-emission combustion engines in modern cars.
The growth of this business segment is also the reason for opening this new site. S&A development was previously located in Frenstat, which is 40 km south of Ostrava. Continental has a large production site here where products from all three of the Automotive divisions are produced and which employs 2.500 people. "The expansion of production in Frenstat, especially in the area of sensors and actuators, made it necessary to relocate our development department," explains Klaus Hau, Head of the Sensors & Actuators Business Unit. "We chose Ostrava as the site for our new competence center for a number of reasons, including its proximity to Frenstat and its easily accessible location. The deciding factor, however, is the potential for growth that Ostrava offers us as a major city with a renowned technical university. This is because our highly qualified employees are our most important asset. For example, working together with the university enables us to make the specialists of tomorrow aware early on of the prospects that we can offer them as a world-leading automotive supplier."
The new competence center is located in a modern laboratory and office complex with nearly 5.000 square meters of floor space. While the office building was already built, the building with the laboratories and workshops has been newly constructed. The relocation from Frenstat takes place in two stages: The majority of the workforce moved to Ostrava in April, with the remaining employees moving there gradually by July. When the relocation phase is complete, around 160 employees will work in the new center. In the medium term, there are plans to increase the workforce to 200 employees. "The modern office space and the new laboratory wing provide us with very good working conditions," says Mojmir Sustala, Head of S&A activities in Ostrava. "And what is important with a view to the future is that this site gives us the flexibility we need for further expansion. Overall the building has space for 250 employees."
Ostrava is in the north-east of the Czech Republic, close to the border with Poland and around 50 km from the Slovakian border. With around 300,000 inhabitants, the city on the River Oder is the third-largest in the Czech Republic after Prague and Brno. Ostrava has a long tradition as an industrial center and has a major engineering school, the Technical University of Ostrava (VSB), which also has electrical engineering, computer science, and metallurgy faculties, for example.
The products of the Continental Sensors & Actuators Business Unit play a central role in further reducing emissions and fuel consumption in modern combustion engines. Innovations developed by Continental include sensors for measuring nitrogen oxide (NOx), for example, which constantly measure the proportion of nitrogen oxide in exhaust gas and enable it to be adjusted precisely, and the Continental high-temperature sensor with a measure range of up to 1250 degrees Celsius, a key component for optimal exhaust gas aftertreatment. As regards actuators (systems which convert electric signals into movement), the S&A Business Unit is one of the world-leading suppliers of electronically controlled throttle valves and exhaust gas recirculation valves, for example.
The Continental Corporation now has a total of seven sites in the Czech Republic, six of which belong to Continental Automotive. In addition to Frenstat and Ostrava, there is Brandys near Prague, Trutnov and Adrspach in the north near the Polish border, and Jicin, about halfway between Prague and Trutnov. The Tire group of Continental also has a production site in Otrokovice in the south-east of the country. In total, the Corporation presently has around 13.000 employees in the Czech Republic.