Plovdiv-based robot manufacturer Milara to step up on the market with battery-driven trucks

Robot manufacturer milara

Plovdiv-based robot manufacturer Milara to step up on the market with battery-driven trucks

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Posted by: Mihail Vanchev

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The company places a 10m Euro investment to assemble small trucks with the forward thought to come out with design and manufacture of its own for various models along the line

A 10 million Euro is the investment undertaken by the Plovdiv-based business Milara International to get small battery-driven trucks started on batch production in Plovdiv. Having positioned its core business in the robots manufacturing industry (certain of which for the US army), now it is willing to get into the business of the Germany-seated Sevic systems SE and set about the assembly thereof, planning to come out within a year with the design and manufacture of battery-driven trucks of its own.

By the admission of its owner, Krassi Petkov, his business has already come into the pipeline having purchased 5k sq.m. land, plus plant and equipment, plus construction of a manufacturing facility where the investment totals 10 million Euro, with over 3 million Euro debt capital provided by OTP.

Petkov and his business partner Yordan Naydenov bring into the scheme an equity contribution totaling 4 million Euro in the European branch of Sevic systems, thus acquiring 10% of the company. As comes their vision, Milara should develop new models to be subsequently placed on the market by Sevic.

The Facility

By the close of 2019, the Plovdiv-based team is going to produce 260 battery-driven trucks, with record high scheduling of 600 trucks for production on a monthly basis as of 2020. If demand exceeds this quantity, Milara International is planning to get a new production facility running so as to live up to the market demand.

Both partners, Sevic systems and Milara, have set their mind that all operations are to take place at the existing Bulgarian facility held by Petkov.

Sevic keeps a full range of small battery-driven vehicles. These convey cargoes to various logistics points across cities to the end-mile destination as appointed by the client. Given the nature of this transport means, they come up to par with all the environmental requirements set by the EU and are accredited a certificate to give them a free passage across the European cities without any restriction and limitation whatsoever.

The model to be assembled on current form is of the Chinese design of Cenntro Company, managing 80 km with a single charge, it allows for getting upgraded with various cargo compartments – from conventional aluminum receptacles to overhead spraying machines. That makes the trucks an ideal choice for in-house logistics within large industrial areas such as facilities or ports, equally, for public areas where they could easily move around collecting the garbage against no noise emission, alternatively, place wheel locks brackets of vehicles disrespecting the ‘blue area’.

The Investment

The initial choice of partner made by Cevic Bulgaria was Motorcar Service, the latter being the exclusive representative of Linde battery-driven industrial trucks in Bulgaria. Last year they were on the home stretch to get into the assembly of the trucks. As it happened, however, the investment required by Cevic, much like the scale of the plans, turned down Motorcar, by contrast, attracted Milara.

Alexander Brillis – the managing director of Sevic systems SE – Germany, said for Capital Daily that his company entered the market here in 2017. “Our launching relations here promised the earth, so there we went for Bulgaria as the right choice for the manufacture of our battery-driven trucks. Following a market research, and the support lent by Trakia Economic Zone team, we were put through to Milara. We had a couple of meetings in succession with the owner Krassi Petkov where we talked through the options and opportunities for stepping on a shared business ground; so we ended up with an agreement at hand in January 2019. It took us just a few months to set into comfortable workflow relations”, comes Brillis’ admission made with satisfaction.

By Alexander Brillis’ estimate, they will have a return on the investment within 2 years’ time, whereas Krassi Petkov goes even further into the belief that in 24 months’ time the new business promises to generate some profit.

Petkov made of note that his businesses stayed organically interconnected providing a nice square one for the new business. The US partner cutting a foremost figure in the robot semiconductor industry has a ready access to the global market and the electric work majors, whereas the Bulgarian partner sees to the development and the manufacturing of the business.

The annual turnover of Milara hit some USD 30-40M, going highest on the production of various automated systems and robots. ‘Here, at the Bulgarian Milara, we transfer none but works we are certain we could develop – starting with mechanical details, to making an engineering team who is to review and renew manufactured machines, systems, plus to produce new elaborations. Now, we are into the business of transferring ready-made works. For the recent year, we have doubled our machine fleet in Plovdiv’, says Petkov. Annual revenue for 2018 in Bulgaria scored BGN 24M.

The New Models

Following the placement of the agreement, a team of Sevic systems and Milara went to China to visit Cenntro business in Hangzhou city where such battery-driven cargo trucks had already been set into production. The Chinese company partners with the giant Alibaba, thus having a well-positioned sales system not only for the battery-driven trucks, moreover, for the battery-driven-truck carriage service.

Before long, Chinese engineers and workforce came to Plovdiv to assist the start of the then-new to Milara manufacturing. Cevic Bulgaria EOOD is to see to the market placement of the commodities in Bulgaria and the Eastern Europe.

Petkov’s high goal, however, is set at originating a concept model to be elaborated and produced by Milara of its own which is then to reach the market, Sevic systems being instrumental to the point.

„The idea underpinning the German business is to have us come out with an all-in-all European battery-driven truck model which is to be worked through with us, in Bulgaria. We are given roughly a year and half to effectuate this idea”, states the comment made by Milara’s owner. “If one is to produce a battery-driven truck, they will need an equivalent input as for components in the robots industry. Milara has been in the business of automation what stands us in a good stead for basic-level battery-driven engine management, we can draw upon our own know-how in the battery-driven engine control, we can rely on our software for both robot and battery-driven vehicle control, we are in the business of nanotechnology which may be highly instrumental to the creation of high-grade batteries. We are working through sensors, engines, and controls”.

With Petkov, it is not only the case that they can work in a closed-loop pattern for manufacturing small battery-driven trucks, moreover, they could readily produce such in a stand-alone production.

As the report goes by Sevic systems SE, the market for battery-driven cargo vehicles in EU started in 2016. In 2018, 10 000 such vehicles were placed on the market, with the target for 2025 figuring 785 000 of which 323 000 falling into the segment targeted by Sevic, i.e. compact battery-driven trucks.