MD ELEKTRONIK, based in Waldkraiburg, Germany, announced that it plans to invest $12.7 million in a new plant for making automotive cables in Vratsa, Bulgaria.
Per media reports, the company said that plans to build a production plant near Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. There, the new entity, to be called MD ELEKTRONIK EOOD, will make data cables and electronic components. Production is expected to start in 2020, and will create some 300 new jobs.
"The location in Bulgaria and the associated increase in flexibility play an important strategic role in our global production network, in particular, for our customers in Europe," said Ralf Eckert, a member of the company’s management board. The Bulgaria location was selected for the good educational level, its central location, well-established infrastructure and logistical framework conditions, the company reported. The plant is in an industrial area that is close to the border with Romania, a busy area for numerous automotive manufacturers and system suppliers.
MD ELEKTRONIK also reported that it is expanding its Waldkraiburg campus, where it has begun construction of a new technology center with a total floor area of some 4,400 sq m. The completion and commissioning of the building are planned for 2019. This follows prior growth activity, which in 2015 saw MD ELEKTRONIK GmbH open sales offices in the U.S. and China. To strengthen its presence in the NAFTA area, it also founded MD ELEKTRONIK de México S. de R.L. de C.V. in 2015 and built a new plant in León (Mexico) that opened in 2016.
Germany’s Leoni, best known for automotive cables, reports that it was won a contract from Volkswagen to equip 1,300 robots with its LSH 3 dresspack solution for production of electric vehicles.
A press release said that Leoni has already fitted a hundred of the robots at the VW Group’s production site in Zwickau. The LSH 3 provides the power for various bonding methods such as welding, handling, laser bonding, clinching and also adhesive bonding. The project also involves the installation of floor cable harnesses, i.e. installing the cabling for the robots or from the stationary tool to the robot control unit. Leoni notes that it has taken a holistic system approach, supporting customers with preventive maintenance, repairs and the adaptation of existing energy supply systems.
In the course of the next two years, several Volkswagen models are to be produced in Zwickau based on the new MEB platform, the release said. The Zwickau site will be dedicated solely to electromobility as of the end of 2020.
The robotics field has very high requirements to ensure mechanical, chemical and thermal product properties as there are challenges posed by powerful acceleration, compression and torsion, for example, as well as millions of flexing cycles. Further, resilience is a must for high temperatures, welding beads, oil and various chemicals.
Leoni’s LSH 3, which is highly reliable, compact and flexible in use, reduces the likelihood of a collision with interference contours. This advantage, combined with extremely resilient materials and tried-and-tested components, provides great freedom while at the same time allowing the dresspack to be ducted closely to the robot arm.