Lithuanian HVAC&R manufacturer Refra is expanding its production with a new factory in Vievis to keep up with increased demand for natural refrigerant products, a move that will eventually double the company’s production capacity.
Production in the new 12,000m2 (129,167ft2) Vievis facility will start at the end of this month, and Refra expects the new facility to be fully operational in two years. “We will be expanding little by little, depending on how fast we get new production equipment,” said Ilona Pavšukova, Refra Marketing Manager.
The new Vievis facility will produce the same products as the company’s other facility in Vilnius, for now at least. “Later, depending on our new machinery placement, it is possible that we will sort different groups for different facilities,” Pavšukova added.
Currently about 70% of Refra’s turnover comes from natural refrigerant products. Queried about the expected development in the coming years, Pavšukova said “our sales and production of natural refrigerant products increase rapidly each year, so it is inevitable for us to produce more of it.”
“Also, it is one of our main goals to go green, and I believe that in the future natural refrigerant products will take a larger part of all our production,” she added.
Refra was a pioneer in natural refrigerants, having started working with CO2 (R744) in 2005, and hydrocarbons in 2013. For R744, Refra produces low- and medium-temperature transcritical booster racks (combined and separate), chillers and heat pumps. For hydrocarbons, the portfolio includes air- and water-cooled chillers, plus heat pumps.
Refra specializes in customized products, but the most popular product group is the company’s propane (R290) chillers, Pavšukova revealed.
Protecting the environment is not the only priority for Refra. The company is also striving to be a positive force in its local community. “We are planning to employ a minimum of 100 employees for our new premises now and more later,” Pavšukova explained. “At the moment we already have more than 215 employees, so we are glad to be creating more job vacancies in Vievis, which is quite a small town near Vilnius. It is always harder for people in such small areas to find a job, and we are more than happy to give them new opportunities.”
“It is one of our main goals to go green, and I believe that in the future natural refrigerant products will take a larger part of all our production”– Ilona Pavšukova