Automotive parts manufacturing in Bulgaria

Automation & RoboticsIndustrySouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 4/2012

Automotive parts manufacturing constitutes one of the fastest growing sectors in Bulgaria. Over 90% of automotive enterprises are privately owned and produce mainly for the domestic market. The sector is characterized by the predominance of small and medium-sized enterprises and by a combination of strong engineering skills and low-cost production. Flexibility is a basic characteristic of many of these enterprises which work to clients’ demands. After completing an order, they often switch to the production of other parts that are not necessarily related to the automotive sector. They tend to have the equipment and qualified staff that allow them rapidly to reorient themselves to new market niches.

Components manufacturers are active in producing for various European customers: local production ranges from electrical & electronic equipment and spare parts to aluminium and steel wheel rims, batteries, tires, windshields, paints, filters etc. The most successful example is represented by MELEXIS, one of the global leaders in manufacturing, design and testing of electronics for the automotive industry, whose customers are BMW, Mercedes, Audi, VW, Suzuki and Toyota; Melexis participates in a number of academic programs with Sofia Technical University, IFAG, City University, and American University. The total volume of the company’s investment will reach EUR 30 million in the next 3 years.

TOP Automotive parts manufacturers

ALC Bulgaria
The Bulgarian unit - ALC Bulgaria is wholly owned by the South African company Automotive Leather Company (ALC). The Bulgarian branch of the company started to work with 70 employees in September 2011, following substantial investments the workforce has eventually increased to 470 people. The number of jobs is to be doubled by the end of this year. The investment in the ALC plant in Musachevo, which will make seats for the luxury BMW Series 5 and 7, amounts to EUR 4 M. The location of the plant was chosen due to its vicinity to Bulgaria’s capital, the good infrastructure, and the good connection with international roads. South African company Automotive Leather Company (ALC) has a long tradition of working with premier car producers, such as Mercedes, Volkswagen, Nissan, in addition to BMW.

Alucom, member of Metal Technology Group - Angel Balevski JSC, is specialized in low pressure and counter pressure die-casting of aluminum. The company has steady relations with customers from Germany, Austria, Italy, Great Britain, Belgium, etc. and 85% of its production is exported.

Alucom was established in 1973 and became part of Metal Technology Group in 1997. The company is the leading Bulgarian foundry producing aluminium parts. Alucom has technological capacity for own R&D and production of tooling, castings and sand cores, complete machining, surface and heat treatment as well as coating and assembly. The casting technologies include counter pressure die casting and low pressure die casting.

The factory is certified according to EN ISO 9001:2000 since.2002, ISO/TS 16949:2002 since 2004, ISO 14001 since 2008.

Arkomat Bulgaria
Arkomat is an international subcontractor company which manufactures wire harnesses for Volkswagen Electrical Systems Inc. Its initial Bulgarian subsidiary is located in town of Kazanlak. In 2008 Arkomat expanded its production with new factory in Razgrad.

Arexim Engineering
Arexim Engineering is a leading manufacturer of plastic components and injection mold tools in Bulgaria. Arexim specialises in three major production areas - plastic injection moulding, tool making and product assembly. In all three areas it offer a complete service - from the concept through to project completion, with uncompromising quality control and efficient customer support. In 2012 Arexim invested near 2 milion euro in new machines, equipment and extension of the injection moulding department.

Garant JSC is a producer of brake cylinders, oil pumps, hydraulic power units. The company exports to Germany, Italy, Canada, Russia, Hungary and other countries. It was established in 1964 as a plant producing brake cylinders. Later the company enlarges its production programme.

Kaumet JSC is a Bulgarian manufacturer of technical rubber products, hoses for automobile brake systems, valves for pneumatic tires.

Magnetic Media Mechanics
Magnetic Media Mechanics was founded in 2000, as an independent company on the territory of former big factory Magnetic Media Co. It is situated near the motorway, in Dragor, municipality of Pazardzhik. The production facility is situated on 8 000 square meters total area and has its own buildings, machines and equipment. The company is specialized in mechanical processing of aluminum and steel parts, production of varied tools for flooring, all kinds of galvanic coatings and powder coatings. MM Mechanics Ltd. also produces different kinds of assemblies, as well as non-standard machines for varied processing and current repairs. For the automotive sector the company manufactures link bolts for LADA, FIAT, FORD, final pieces, axial rods.

Preskov is one of the oldest and biggest manufacturers of forged and die-forged parts, hubs, hinges, cardans, hydraulic systems for vehicles in Bulgaria. The company manufactures a wide range of products with weight from 0.300 kg to 25 kg which are designed for various branches such as energy industry, machine engineering, transport, agriculture, hydraulics, mining and manufacture of lifting, transport and construction machines. The production facilities of the company are located in the industrial part of Stara Zagora on an area of 116,000 sq.m. The main production includes forgings by the hot die forging method of weight from 0.300 kg up to 25 kg. The capacity of the plant is 8,000 tons per year at a single shift.

Yazaki-Bulgaria is a part of Yazaki Europe. The company is one of the largest producers on the automotive world market of car cabling. Yazaki Corporation has a significant global presence in the global market with its 154 centers for development, manufacturing and sales located in 38 countries. The company employs more than 200,000 employees. Yazaki has a 35% share of the international market for automotive production cable equipment. Part of the company’s products are cable systems, air conditioners, various products related to ecology, and other components and equipment for cars.

Integrated Micro-Electronics Bulgaria
Integrated Micro-Electronics Bulgaria is part of Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. (IMI) - a leading provider of electronic manufacturing services (EMS) and power semiconductor assembly and test services. The acquisition of three of the subsidiaries of EPIQ NV - in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Mexico was completed on July 29, 2011 and is part of IMI’s globalization efforts to bring its services closer to original electronic device manufacturers in different regions of the world.

Operating in multiple global locations, IMI serves some of the world’s leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the computing, communications, consumer, automotive, industrial, and medical electronics markets. IMI is consistently ranked among the top 30 EMS providers in the world. Founded in 1980 as joint venture between Ayala Corporation and Resins Inc., IMI now operates in 17 manufacturing sites around the world located in the Philippines, China, Singapore, the United States of America, Mexico, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic. IMI has a prototyping and new product introduction facility in Tustin, California.

Integrated Micro-Electronics Bulgaria employs approximately 1200 people and its production facilities are located in the town of Botevgrad. There is also a Design & Development Unit in the city of Sofia.

Festo Production
Festo Production is a division of Festo AG & Co specialized in sensors manufacturing. The company has one of the most modern and advanced enterprises in Bulgaria. Its production program covers more than 700 products - all types of magnetic sensors, process automation products and fluid sensors.

The company will invest over 10 million euro to double its production capacity in Bulgaria. In Sofia it will be constructed a new building which construction should be completed by the end of August 2013. In addition to the existing products it will launch a new production line- solutions for automation of continuous processes. Festo Production currently employs 500 people, but after the construction of the new building is expected to double the number.

Fransizkup is a producer of starters and alternators. The company exports to France, Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Moldova and many other countries. At present it employs more than 40 highly skilled experts.

Grammer is specialized in developing and manufacturing of components and systems for car interiors as well as driver and passenger seats for off-road vehicles, trucks, buses, and trains. In 1997 Grammer bought the factory in the village Trudovets that produced seats for buses and equipment "Chavdar". Today the factory produces a wide range of seats for tractors, construction equipment, buses, forklifts and trucks, as well as parts and systems for interior fittings of automobiles. The product range is successfully exported to Germany, UK, USA, Turkey, China and Russia.

Iksetik is a subsidiary of Ixetic, Germany, which owns two production plants in the region of Frankfurt and Cologne, as well as divisions of sales and service in Japan, USA, China and India. Ixetic Group ranks among the world’s leading manufacturers of hydraulic and vacuum equipment used in engine management, transmission, suspension and braking systems of automobiles.

German company chose an industrial zone Rakovski near to Plovdiv for production of rotor parts, hydraulic power steering pumps and vacuum pumps primarily for brake systems. The production facility is situated on total are of more than 12 000 square meters. Main clients of the company are BMW, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Ford, General Motors, Man and others.

Johnson Controls Electronics Bulgaria
Johnson Controls Electronics Bulgaria was established in 2000 year. It specialises in automotive electronics. The Sofia-based arm provides project support and delivery of automotive software development and validation, hardware solutions design and prototyping, mechanical engineering services and global IT support. Among its major clients are BMW, Ford, Renault, GM, Opel, Volkswagen. Johnson Controls Electronics Bulgaria operates in a 52,000 square meters office facility, located in the capital Sofia.

Kostal Holding
In 2011 one of the world leaders in the manufacture of electronic systems for cars - Kostal Group, opened a factory in the town of Smolyan. The company manufactures lighting and electronics systems for Skoda, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Suzuki and other giants in the automotive industry. Kostal Group has invested for the start of the plant more than 180 000 euro.

Kostal Group is an independent, family group which was founded in 1912 in the German town of Ludenscheid. Its headquarters are still located in the town. The Group’s main activities include the development and manufacture of technologically advanced electronic and electromechanical (mechatronic) products.

Liebherr Transportation Systems Marica
Liebherr Transportation Systems Marica is specialized in manufacturing of various types of air-conditioning systems for rail vehicles. At September 2012 Liebherr delivers first air conditioning units from its production plant in Bulgaria to Swiss Federal Railways (SBB).

Starting at the end of September 2012, Liebherr will therefore be able to deliver the complete air conditioning units from its Bulgarian production plant. They are being used to modernize double-deck center cars for the pre-series of 238 DPZ+ push-pull trainsets, and provide innovative saloon air conditioning with a heat-pump function.

The first air conditioning units for this order were built by Liebherr-Transportation Systems GmbH & Co KG in Korneuburg (Austria), but all the remaining units for the project are to be manufactured by Liebherr-Transportation Systems Marica. For this purpose extensive preparatory work took place last year in Radinovo. The company situated there is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liebherr-Transportation Systems GmbH & Co KG in Korneuburg (Austria), and employs approximately 230 people.

Melexis Bulgaria
Belgian semiconductor producer Melexis set foot in Bulgaria in 2000 by opening a production facility in the capital Sofia. The company has been presented in the country via sub-contractors since 1994. It manufactures two types of its products in Bulgaria - infrared temperature sensors and articles for vehicle cooling systems. In September 2006, Melexis opened a production and design plant worth over EUR 5.0 million, part of a EUR 30 million investment programme.

It’s product range includes ASIC, brushless DC Motor control ICs, Hall effect sensor ICs, in- vehicle networking, inertia sensors, infrared thermometer sensors, LIN IO Control ILIN SBC’s and BUS transceivers, microcontrollers, optical sensors, power control ICs, tire pressure monitoring (TPMS, wireless ICs: automotive, wireless ICs.

Montupet Bulgaria
Montupet Bulgaria is a French-owned aluminium foundry based in Rousse. The factory primarily manufacturers cylinder heads, chassis parts for Audi plant in Hungary, BMW in UK and Ford’s production facilities in Germany and Romania, as well as that of Dacia in Romania. Montupet Bulgaria is planning to invest EUR 30 million in expanding its plant for automotive parts. After the installation of all equipment and full load, which is expected to happen in 2015, Montupet Bulgaria will produce about 2 million car parts. This result will position Bulgarian plant as the largest enterprise in the group.

Nursan Otomotiv
Nursan Otomotiv  was founded as a result of joint collaboration between Nursan Electric Donanam and Koush Group in 2002. The company operates in an enterprise located in village of Lulakovo, municipality Burgas, with a covered area of 7000 square meters. Nursan works with over 20 clients from Turkey, France, Italy, Egypt and Iran, and its total turnover reaches 60,000,000 euros.

Nursan produces automobile cable systems and battery cables for cars, light-trucks and trucks.
At the same time it offers a wide range of products for manufacturers of appliances, provides its customers the opportunity for product development, product comparison, mass production and on-site service.

Oskar Ruegg Bulgaria
Oskar Ruegg Bulgaria is a subsidiary of Oskar Ruegg Switzerland - one of the main European producers of automotive products of sheet material - all materials suitable for cold-forming like mild steels, quality steels, alloy and stainless steels, copper and copper alloys as well as aluminum up to a thickness of 3.0 mm. Oskar Ruegg AG is a global acting enterprise in the state-of-the-art tooling with production facilities in Jona / St. Gallen and Stara Zagora /Bulgaria.

Sensata Technologies
Sensata Technologies is a world leader and an early innovator in the field of mission-critical, electrical protection and high temperature sensors for the automotive industry. The company was part of Texas Instruments and became stand alone entity after spin-off in 2006. Sensata produces a wide range of customized, innovative sensors and controls for mission critical applications that improve safety, efficiency and comfort for millions of people every day. The company employs more than 13,000 employees in North and South America, Asia and Europe and is one of the biggest employers and investors in Bulgaria.

Sumitomo Electric Bordnetze - Bulgaria
Sumitomo Electric Bordnetze - Bulgaria is a parts supplier for the international automotive industry. In its three locations in Bulgaria, the company produces wire harnesses for a variety of automobile plattforms. Its major customers are Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Skoda. The company was originally founded back in 2002 as a logistics center of VW TR (Volkswagen Elektrik Sistemleri A.S. - Cerkezkoy, Turkey) in Kazanlak. In 2004 the company expanded and moved to Karnobat. It became a subsupplier of VW TR, and was managed by it. After having Volkswagen AG and Siemens AG sold Volkswagen Bordnetze GmbH to Sumitomo Corporation back in 2006, the company became autonomous. Since then it operates under the new name Sumitomo Electric Bordnetze - Bulgaria. In 2008 the company expanded further and founded a new plant in Mezdra. Currently it has 3 production locations in Bulgaria in total, one of them is owned by its subcontractor Ates (Sliven).

William Hughes Bulgaria
William Hughes Bulgaria opened its doors in November 2004 as a centre for high volume production, in a mainland European location. It has around 100 employees and has undergone four expansion phases since opening and is currently over 4000 square meters with room for more growth. The factory is located 12km away from Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city. Current manufacturing facilities are extensive with 22 CNC wire bending/ coiling machines that can bend wire from 0.4 - 12 mm, and can coil up to 6.3mm spring steel. For assembly work there are spot welders, automatic welding cabinets and 6-axis robot welding cells. For finishing parts there are 2 nylon plastic coating lines, a paint line and a delta toning plant. For inspecting work, there is a CMM, a portable measuring arm, torque and load testing machines.

Witte Automotive Bulgaria
Bulgarian subsidiary of Witte Automotive was opened in 2010 in Rousse. The company is supplying all well-known vehicle brands with WITTE Automotive products - latches, hinges, lock sets and door handles. WITTE Automotive currently employs about 2.600 people worldwide.

Wurth Elektronik
Wurth Electronics IBL BG is located in town of Belozem. The company is a subsidiary of German company Wurth Elektronik which has 16 production facilities located worldwide and is the most successful company of the group Wurth. Wurth Elektronik is specialized in the manufacture of electromechanical and passive components. In Bulgaria, the factory has over 250 employees with a tendency to increase.