20 november 2020
'Optix' in Plovdiv – with added value of engineering thought, robots and personal attitude
Nothing repeats itself here. Every idea is new, each solution – unique. And the articles produced by the new facility of Optix in Plovdiv are in such small series that the extra large companies in the industry are not interested in them. Speed, innovation and no barriers to engineering thought – these are the preferences set by the design team of Optics, which was formed in 2011 in Plovdiv.
Why Plovdiv and not Panagyurishte, where Optics was established back in 1998? Simply because a solution needs to be found to the issue with civil engineers shortage. In 2020, new conditions for creative development activities were provided to the Plovdiv team of Optix in the beautiful and functional building of the company. The total value of the investment was about BGN 10 million. The small series and the large dynamics of the projects required investment in machines that can be quickly transferred from one project to another.
In the new building, a flexible production line consisting of 5 machines, two of which are of inspection type, has already been mounted. The machines are manufactured by world leaders in this industry. The printer is DEK, the inspection machines – Koh Young, the machine for placing the electronic components in short series – ASM. Our production line also includes an oven with 8 firing zones to ensure the good quality of soldering. The last machine inspects the installed and welded components through 3D measurements. Optix in Plovdiv has the first robot warehouse in Bulgaria with controlled humidity and temperature. It significantly reduces the preparation time of the production process and ensures the preservation of the components' parameters.
Stanislav Iliev – the manager of outpacing ideas
Eng. Stanislav Iliev, Head of the Hardware Unit, Thermovision Department of Optics
Mr. Iliev, what are the responsibilities of the Head of the Hardware Unit in Thermovision Department of Optix?
The hardware team produces the electronics items at Optix and is responsible for drawing up and coordinating the assignment process, including the project, design, prototyping, laboratory tests to serial production. We work hand in hand with our colleagues from the Firmware, Mechanics and Optics Departments, creating together the Optics products.
I have worked at the company for 11 years. I started when the formation of the Thermovision Department was dawning. I was attracted by the dream-like spirit of the team leader Eng. Vladimir Cholakov, PhD, the high goals set by him and my colleagues' passion for development. I was inspired by the idea of Optix for constant pursuit of new technologies. We started fighting colossi worldwide. Since then, we have climbed progressively upward in terms of competencies, specialists and activities.
Where did the idea to form a unit in Plovdiv come from?
Plovdiv has been a university city and an industrial leader in recent years. It is here that we see good opportunities for realization of our future development plans. We are often asked the question: Why not Sofia? The labour market in Sofia is different from that in Plovdiv. In Sofia, the nomadic principle of labour movement is considered normal and people shift very easily from one company to another, which hinders the formation of long-lived teams. In Plovdiv, loyalty to the company is valued and respected. We rely on the development of our staff and the elaboration of long-term strategies.
What responsibilities does Optix assign to its Plovdiv team?
The investment in Plovdiv is large-scale and long-term. We currently have a finished project for an engineering department focused on the development activity of Optix, whose objective is to increase innovations in our products, team development, as well as the construction of a training centre for the new staff. We successfully work with Technical Universities and Vocational High Schools. We've built a modern and automated workshop for saturation of printed circuit boards and production of electronic components, whose objective is to increase the quality of our products and reduce the production time. We also have a laboratory for pre-certification measurements. Our most important asset is our employees – competent, motivated and looking for progressive development.
I think now is the time to thank each of them for their efforts. Optics finds itself at the top mainly because of them.
We are aware of the trust placed in us and of our responsibilities. Personally, I see the Plovdiv Project as a catalyst for innovations at Optics.
Where are the electronic modules produced in Plovdiv to be used?
The electronic modules are to be used in all products of Optix and in those of our partners.
We have the capacity and know-how that we share with our partners and colleagues in the industry. Prototype production is a difficult task even for the largest companies. Maintaining high quality for small series is unprofitable. The combination of top saturation machines and high-tech inspections guarantees the quality production of the prototype and short series, which we have focused on. Minimum delivery times of the components from direct representatives, the competence of the team and the standards required in the industry make us a predictable and desirable partner in the production of electronic units.
How will Optix develop in Plovdiv by the end of 2020?
Currently, we have 30 designers, who, I can boldly say, are among the best ones in Bulgaria. Soon we will move to the new building and we are all excited about the modern technologies provided by the project. We keep aspiring!
Eng. Ivaylo Mashev: 'I am involved in a promising project by Optix'
Eng. Ivaylo Mashev, Manager of Business Development and SMT Sales
When did you start working at Optix, Plovdiv?
I found Optix 2 months ago. I am an electronics engineer and have a master's degree in business administration. Stanislav Iliev contacted me this year and invited me to work together. This is how I became part of Optix. I have not had any worries with my experience of more than 16 years at electronics companies and this environment is quite familiar to me. I am a person who likes to try new things and it was interesting for me to get involved in a project that is just starting. At the same time, there are very high expectations for the results of the new venture.
What is it that you invest the most professional effort and skills in?
I like the work because it is dynamic and we improve our production activities, upgrade the line and build our marketing strategy. My objective is to build the processes so as to satisfy the internal needs of Optix with electronic products and to start offering the service to external customers. The short time of execution of our operations, especially in the development activity of Optix ensures the competitive ability of the company. Any delay can lead to a reduction in profits. This also applies to the needs of our external customers. They are also in a hurry, looking for high competitiveness by implementing new ideas.
In October, we completed the assembly of the automatic line and the training of the teams. In our plans for the near future, we are committed to offering more comprehensive services, larger in volume, in the following way: customers come to us with ideas of their new project, and we supply them with saturated boards, according to all their requirements and standards. The production covers all quality standards set by Optix, and the plan is to pass certification on all necessary standards for electronics, so as to guarantee the required quality of the products that customers expect. Coming to us with the idea, the customers get a lively, working device - an electronic module. Our objective is to spare them those activities that are without much added value for them. We will focus mainly on the prototypes and the small to medium series.
What remains to be done by the end of 2020?
In terms of production by the end of the year we have to fully master the processes of automatic and manual saturation of boards, as well as their testing, and have to equip the plant with devices necessary for our activity. We will focus on training the teams and on staff cooperation so as to offer the exact services that customers need. Further development of the pre-certification test service is something very important for us. All colleagues in the industry know how expensive the certification is and how long this process is if the issues are not solved in time.
Author: Mihail Vanchev
- 20 november 2020
- OPTIX SMT