Success Stories in Bulgarian Electronics Industry

Electronics Technical ArticlesSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 2/2012

Bulgaria is a key electronics manufacturing hub in Southeast Europe. The country is increasingly being preferred by many electronics assemblers and is set to emerge as one of the key recipients of foreign direct investments in electronics industry. The article presents three successful long-standing investments in the sector.

Melexis Bulgaria

Melexis Bulgaria has now more than 13 years of successful presence in the market and represents the first foreign investment in the area of microelectronics in Bulgaria. Since its start, the company has grown at a substantial rate. Based in Sofia, in 2006 Melexis relocated to a newly refurbished 7800 m2 facility containing office space, R&D, test areas, and over 1000 m2 clean rooms for handling semiconductors. The importance of the Bulgarian site in the international family of Melexis has increased since bringing the new location online. For the years of 2006 and 2007 Melexis has invested over EUR 13 mil. in Bulgaria for buildings, utilities and equipment.

Melexis core experience supplying ICs for automotive electronics sustains the expansion into Application Specific Standard Products for industrial and consumer product applications. Its product range includes sensor, communication, actuator ICs and Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs).

Automotive electronics systems
Foremost Melexis designs and develops for automotive electronics systems. Today nearly all automobile brands worldwide rely on Melexis ICs to safely, efficiently and comfortably convey passengers and goods. The growth in the electronic content of automobiles worldwide continues to demand increasingly capable ICs and IC sensors. The quality and reliability focus required to serve the automotive market has resulted in Melexis achieving certification to the newest, most demanding internationally recognized Quality Standard, ISO/TS16949. Melexis IC’s make a difference in the vehicles of companies like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, VW, Suzuki, Toyota, GM and Ford.

World Class Silicon Solutions
Melexis customers are winning business in many other areas than just automobiles. Technology development in RF and RFID components has enabled Melexis customers to achieve their product development goals on time, in budget and with sustainable profit margins. Micro-machined silicon technology coupled with Melexis mixed signal design has yielded infrared thermometers, accelerometers and pressure sensors that opened new opportunities for customers in leading edge systems for cars, appliances, industrial machinery and consumer goods. Integrated Hall effect fan drivers allow Melexis customers to win business in the latest computer, gaming and entertainment systems worldwide. Cell phones, handheld remote controls, battery charging controllers are a few demanding mixed signal and sensing applications currently benefiting from Melexis semiconductor expertise and advanced manufacturing capabilities.

Melexis is also the world’s leading manufacturer of fully protected microcontrollers with sensor compatible interfaces.

Melexis is also involved in many cutting edge new development areas such as: TPMS (tire pressure monitoring), acceleration sensors, solid state gyroscopes, automotive CMOS cameras, heads-up-displays (HUD), optical bus, integrated LIN microcontroller family, 360-degree position sensing, ultra high-voltage (650V) engine ignition IC’s, and many others. Its ongoing commitment to R&D in new product areas keeps Melexis customers ahead of the competition.

Johnson Controls Electronics

Johnson Controls is one of the world’s leading suppliers of automotive interiors, electronics and batteries. Some 75,000 employees develop and produce seating systems, instrument panels/cockpits, door systems, overhead systems, integrated automotive interiors, interior electronics, electrical energy management and automotive batteries. The priorities of the Johnson Controls activity are new products, concepts and solutions for all automotive customers - such as Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, Mercedes Car Group, VW Group, Honda, Toyota, and many others.

The company entered the Bulgarian market in 2001 by establishing a unit developing software solutions for the automotive industry. In 2006 Johnson Controls opened an electronics design center in Sofia - one of the nine technology centers of the company. 500 employees in Sofia join forces with the technological centers in France, Germany and the USA. In Bulgaria, Johnson Controls has developed products for automobile giants like BMW, Daimler Chrysler, Renault, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroen and GM. Besides, the company organizes the traditional software competition "Code Racers" intended for Bulgarian software specialists and professionals searching for recognition and possibility to reveal their abilities.

Electronics solutions
Johnson Controls’ portfolio of electronics solutions is tailored to specific customer and market requirements, with seamless integration into the vehicle’s interior. Johnson Controls has over 1,000 engineers, electronics specialists, and designers at seven Research and Development Centers in Europe, North America, and Asia who develop innovative electronics solutions for Driver Information, Infotainment, Connectivity, Body Electronics and HomeLink.

Johnson Controls’ electronics solutions include: Human Machine Interaction Design Expertise; Driver Information; Infotainment & Connectivity; HomeLink; Body Electronics.


Established in 1969 as a deliverer of the defence industry SET PCB Technology Ltd. in Rousse proved itself for more than 40 years as one of the largest PCB manufacturers in Europe.

SET PCB Technology a dynamic market-driven company based on high flexibility. Over 3000 kg bare printed circiut boards leave every week the production to more than 500 customers in Bulgaria and Western Europe.

Based on the current IPC standards combined with the ISO 9001:2008 and UL certificates, the team is motivated and in interest of the customers in order to meet all their requirements. This is confirmed by the automotive customers.

• Single sided PCBs
• PCBs with nonplated-through holes
• PCBs with plated-through holes
• Multilayer
• High frequency PCBs - Rogers material
• Flexible PCBs and
• High Tg PCBs (up to 2000C)

• Lead-free hot air leveling (HAL)
• Scoring
• Carbon print
• Peelable masks
• Immersion Ni/Au
• Immersion Sn
• Self-produced dies
• Plated-through slots
• Press Fit technology
• Plated-through borders
• Copper thickness up to 400 um

Quality means meeting the customers’ requirements. Constant control monitoring process according to the guideline of ISO 9001:2008 guarantees the high quality manufacturing. The printed curcuit boards leave the production 100% electrically tested.

The combination of careful use of quality materials, the waste water treatment station of the german company Guetling  together with the guideline according to ISO 14001 successfully prevents environmental pollution.


Producer of assembled and tested high quality printed circuit boards
Steiner Electronic Ltd. is an innovative, dynamic and entrepreneurial company. Its core competences are from the components purchasing, PCB assembly, testing, coating, cable confection to the labeling and packing of the boards. 

The name Steiner Electronic stands not only for the highest quality and quick service but also for international presence.


THT Assembly
• Manual and semiautomatic assembly of conventional elements
• Partial soldering and complete wave-soldering incl. RoHS
• Flexible components preparation

SMD Assembly
• Automatic SMD assembly with Reflow-soldering and adhesive technology
• SMD assembly line by JUKI with 2 integrated automatic loaders and an oven for Reflow-soldering Vitronics Soltec
• Manual SMD assembly for prototypes and small series
• Assembly of components from 0201 to 55 mm2 - 25 000 components/hour
• Assembly of exotic elements

Cable confection
• Cutting off flat and round cables with the flat-cutter FS 100 by CAB
• Cable stripping and crimping - with Strip Crimp 200 by Schleuniger
• Cable contact testing with 384 testing points with FA Kabtec 192 Tester by Seltronic
• Entire units’ assembly
• Mechanical treatment
• Cleaning-up
• Complete or selective coating
Quality Assurance
• Quality control system according to ISO 9001:2008
• Meeting the customers’ requirements and standards
• Manufacturing according to the international standards - IPC & ISO 14001

• Testing of specific assembled PCBs:
• Programming
• Functional test
• In-Circuit test
• Automatical Optical Inspection (AOI) with high performance system VantageTM S22 by Orbotech

AOI Test Parameter
• Testing speed 20 cm2/sec
• Real 3D image by high resolution cameras
• Detection of presence and absence components, placement accuracy and polarity of the components, tombstone effect, fillet lifting, short-circuits
• Optical character recognition (OCR)
• Testing of objects with maximal size up to 450x405mm

Based on the ISO 9001:2008 certificate and the ESD guidelines, Steiner Elektronik works on the current IPC standards inclusive IPC 610 und IPC 61340.

A professional statistical process control helps the company detect problems in time and solve them immediately.