Technology has always been in my blood, and at a later stage, I turned my passion into business, says Engineer Miroslav Hinkov, CEO of Mechatronika - Gabrovo. The company he manages develops and produces automatic lines for laminated tubes. This business requires constant innovation. It does not rely on low prices, but on a modern and creative product that is constantly being updated.
Among the First in the World
Mechatronika is an innovative company
that sells all over the world and holds nearly a quarter of the market for
cosmetic packaging machines. Founded in 1961, it was privatised in the 1990s,
but some time went by before it found its place in the world of a market
economy. It reached international markets thanks to the combination of many
factors, including chance. "We did not start from scratch, but we stepped
on a solid foundation and took advantage of the situation in the best way. We
directed the business in a direction where we had a chance. We produce
sophisticated equipment and there are two or three Swiss companies in the world
that we compete with. To share a market with only a few companies, even Swiss
ones, is much easier than to compete with a mass product created by
corporations," Miroslav Hinkov comments.
In 1990, Engineer Hinkov, together
with three other colleagues from the Technical University of Gabrovo, founded a
company for electronic sensors, and in 1996 they organised the production of
shampoos and toothpastes. At that time, the tubes were made of aluminium, but
laminate packages started to enter the market. However, the machines were
expensive and the young Bulgarian company did not have the resources which is
why the experienced engineers came up with the idea to make the necessary
equipment themselves. The notorious Gabrovo thriftiness probably also had its
influence, and they became not-by-choice inventors who constantly experimented
and perfected what had already been done. When, in their practice, they gained
confidence in the quality of the machines, they started seeking opportunities
to trade with them. Today, they also produce packages, but in a very limited
amount. They still make cosmetic products under the STS Cosmetics brand, also
part of STS Invest Holding.
"We were good at creating new
machines, but we also had luck," Hinkov admits. "I know some inventors,
but most of them just weigh up if something can be valuable and then they do
it. In order to find a realisation, apart from being innovative, the invention
should also be useful. Only then will the doors be open for it, just as the
market accepted our machines. When you are sure of the qualities of your
invention, you should also be able to convince investors that your investment
is worth it," explains the engineer who was declared inventor of 2013 by
the Bulgarian Patent Office in the category of Machine Building and
Construction. According to him, often, when the details are well examined, it
can be noticed that either the invention cannot be realised technically, or it
solves an insignificant problem. He is convinced that if one comes up with
something the world needs, they will always find someone to support them.
Youth and Experience
Currently, the R & D team of
Mechatronika consists of 10 people. They have engineer thinking, knowledge,
experience, and apply scientific approaches. Half of them are young people with
ambition and potential. Most are locals that have graduated from the Technical
University of Gabrovo: "We have created good conditions for their
professional growth. Ingenuity is a quality that must be unlocked and
The Price of Success
Undoubtedly, Miroslav Hinkov is a
successful entrepreneur and inventor. Here's how: "What success depends on
has been established long ago. One should simply apply it and be honest to
themselves as to when they are successful and when they are not. One must have
strong desire to achieve something. To be persistent and do not give up in case
of a failure. Most people reach a point and give up, even though they know they
have to be persistent. The role of chance cannot be ignored. One must try in
more directions in order to have a better chance." We, at Mechatronika,
constantly strive to revolutionise packaging machinery. They are fully digitalised
and ready for the Industry 4.0 era. The Gabrovo company has a few competitors
and a compromise with quality is not possible - either they are at a world-class
level or they are out of the market.
Locally and Globally
The desire to achieve something and
the confidence that you can do it is essential. If you measure your
achievements objectively, the chance for success is on your side, the
entrepreneur assures. Young people have knowledge and skills, but unfortunately
most of them have no confidence that they can have great achievements in
Bulgaria. But to all who have doubts, we will remind that Mechatronika is a
Bulgarian company that is developing in a small town but has a world success.
The world needs innovation, and anyone who proves that they can create it, can
Tips from Engineer Miroslav Hinkov
1. If you are an inventor, see what
the market needs first. Make a thorough research of what has already been done
in the area.
2. Evaluate the economic effect that the realisation of the idea would bring. It may be interesting, but if its introduction is extremely expensive, nobody would want to pay for it.
3. A lot of knowledge is needed, including marketing.
4. Ideas do not come out of nothing. You can look for a solution all day long, and when you wake up the next morning, the good idea can dawn on you. But it will be the result of experience and accumulation.
5. It is best for the inventions to be born in a development environment, like Mechatronika.6. A lot of resources are needed for the realisation of every good idea. We put aside almost half of our revenue for innovation and development. At the same time, we implement 5-10 projects, hoping that at least one or two of them will be successful.
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