The construction of the Manufacturing Innovation Valley building next to the Molėtai Highway in Vilnius has begun. It will provide a platform for manufacturing enterprises, start-ups, technology developers and researchers to test their innovative ideas, create digital innovations and prototypes, and perform small-scale manufacturing. The value of this Digital innovation hub project totals almost EUR 10 million, of which about EUR 4 million has been earmarked for the building infrastructure and EUR 3 million for manufacturing equipment. It will be the only space of its kind for innovative manufacturers in the Baltic States. The building is expected to open doors in the first half of next year, with consultations on digitisation and innovations already taking place.
According to Mr Gintaras Vilda, the director of the Manufacturing Innovation Valley, there is still a lack of adequate infrastructure for innovative manufacturers. “On the one hand, Lithuania seems to offer a sufficient number of spaces for technology and innovation development, but manufacturing enterprises need specific conditions and equipment. A high electrical output, ultra-high-speed Internet, high ceilings, convenient access for heavy-duty vehicles, as well as wide and high gates are of major importance to such enterprises. This is exactly what we had in mind when designing the Manufacturing Innovation Valley building, because we know what it takes to develop manufacturing and innovations,” Mr Vilda said.
The 5,000 m2 building will house up to 14 manufacturing laboratories to be set up in line with the European Union’s ManuFuture 2030 industrial strategy. Laboratories have already been reserved for enterprises operating in the fields of robotics and automation, optoelectronics, mobility, future business and logistics. The area of laboratories will range between 216 and 648 m², and administrative premises will be 70 to 210 m². There will also be a Prototyping laboratory with the necessary prototyping equipment: CNC machining, laser cutters, casting machines, industrial robots, automation and metrology equipment including X-ray and ultrasonic measuring devices, welding equipment, 3D printing equipment, various prototype test benches and loaders, etc. The building will have a clean room for use in electronics or the medical industry. Another laboratory of the Manufacturing Innovation Valley will be opened at the base of UAB Elinta, a project partner, in Kaunas.
“It is important to note that innovation requires not only good infrastructure, but also the integration of different knowledge and competencies, and the resulting synergies. This has led us to create the Valley and offer our infrastructure as well as product development and commercialisation skills we have mastered with our partners to facilitate much faster trial, improvement and testing of new solutions. We already provide digital innovation business consulting services in 20 different Industry 4.0 technology areas, which are already used by our first customers,” Mr Vilda said. Automation, robotics, visual control, manufacturing digitalisation concept, design and testing, digitalisation consulting and other services are already available. In addition to manufacturing sector-specific consulting, enterprises are also offered business management services with regard to attracting funding, logistics, marketing, law, accounting, etc. The Manufacturing Innovation Valley liaises with foreign partners, thus paving the way for the international development of Lithuanian enterprises. Various educational, information and technology events for manufacturing enterprises are also organised on a regular basis.
The Manufacturing Innovation Valley infrastructure will be available to different-sized Lithuanian and foreign businesses and individuals. For example, larger companies will be able to test their new technologies or prototypes here, which is difficult to do in batch production companies that are not in the right position to take unit orders.
The Manufacturing Innovation Valley will be sited on the Molėtai Highway in the neighbourhood of Arginta Group, UAB Brolis Semiconductors, and UAB Armila. The project partners – UAB BaltLed, UAB Aedilis, UAB Elinta, UAB Precizika Metrology, and UAB Proftools – are also investing in the facilities, technological infrastructure and innovation consulting to be offered in the Valley.
The Manufacturing Innovation Valley project is implemented by UAB Pažangios inovacijos. The project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the call for Digital Innovation Hubs No. 01.2.1-LVPA-K-857-01. The share of the EU support amounts to EUR 5.9 million.