Today FANUC is a world leader in the industrial automation sector as more than 4.5 million FANUC controllers and 750,000 FANUC robots have been installed in plants globally. FANUC has offices in 36 locations in Europe and this year the FANUC branch in Bulgaria celebrated its 40-year anniversary.
“Bulgaria has been part of FANUC’s global network from the very beginning. The country was among the first for FANUC to start its overseas activities,” says Shinichi Tanzawa, President & CEO of FANUC Europe. “Since 40 years now our Bulgarian branch has been continuously serving our customers in the region and thereby contributed to their production efficiency. The branch has supported customers from Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, Albania and Cyprus and served as a regional hub for FANUC.”
“Although the labor costs in the region are still low compared to other parts of Europe, we see a good potential of more automation and robotization in the country. This is why we are planning to strengthen our organization in Bulgaria to fulfil the requirements of our customers. We aim to adapt our solutions to the needs of the different markets and to grow with our customers in the long term.”
“The companies in Bulgaria are increasingly inclined to invest in innovations,” commented Hristo Gilishtarov, managing director of FANUC Bulgaria. “The decision for the automation of the production process is strictly individual and it represents know-how on itself for every company. It is an indisputable fact that the leading sectors that manufacture products with high added value are the ones most open to innovations,” he added.
“As per the report of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), there is a 23% growth in the number of installed industrial robots in Bulgaria in the period between 2014 and 2019. This goes to show that automation and robotization of the manufacturing processes are becoming increasingly important to all Bulgarian companies that want to be stronger competitors, optimize their sustainability considering the labor market situation, and overcome the increasingly complex challenges to their manufacturing processes. Robots certainly are the key to higher production rates and achieving higher efficiency,” explained Hristo Gilishtarov.
In the last 4 years, the number of FANUC employees in Europe increased with 28% as they currently are more than 1700. More than two-thirds of the employees of the corporation work either as technical support or as engineers in the service centers.
“The numbers of robotics engineers in Bulgaria with the necessary skills to design, install, operate and support the robotized manufacturing systems steadily increases,” believes Mr. Gilishtarov. “Nevertheless, we constantly and consciously strive to train our workers with the skills adequate to the needs of the Bulgarian industry. Finding sufficient number of highly trained workers is an issue that we want to solve with our FANUC Academy where we train the necessary specialists for our present and future customers,” added the managing director of FANUC Bulgaria.
In the last 5 years, FANUC supported its European service and maintenance network by investing more than 120 million euros in the expansion of its divisions in Europe. The company plans to invest another 180 million euros in the next three years. New expansions in more than 10 European countries, among which is Bulgaria, are planned. The company invested more than 100 million euros in spare parts warehouse stocks that are available to all European divisions, so that it can ensure 99.9% availability of all needed spare parts.
“We will continue to strengthen our sales and service network in Bulgaria and the region by investing in human resources so we can implement our "Service First" principle and ensure maximum uptime of FANUC products at the customers’ factories. We are and will continue to invest in our facilities, training capabilities and technologies to support our customers going forward thereby contributing to the competitiveness of the Bulgarian manufacturing industry.” explained Mr. Tanzawa.
“In the past 40 years, several technological generations of FANUC products have been developed. Our range of products is constantly evolving. What remains unchanged is the passion our team has for assisting our customers and partners in their transition to Industry 4.0,” stated Hr. Gilishtarov.