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Slovenia’s electronics industry: thriving in narrow niches

Slovenia's electronics industry was well presented at this year's Electronica in Munich, Germany, this November. Electronica is the world's leading trade fair for electronic components, systems and applications. Amongst the companies present at the fair were printed circuit board developers and manufacturers Kolektor, one of Slovenia's largest groups, and companies developing components for the world's top particle accelerators.


Undoubtedly, with 541 companies earning 3.8 billion euros in sales last year, and with 28,000 employees, the electrotechnical and electronics industry is amongst Slovenia’s key sectors. Most of its revenue, over 3 billion euros, is made outside the country. Above all, the companies in this industry belong to the most innovative and successful businesses in the country. Take Elgoline, one of this year’s exhibitors at Electronica. This company from Cerknica is an important European developer of flexible and fixed printed circuit boards. It specialises in the boutique production of small series and prototypes, and closely cooperates with Slovenia’s leading scientific institution, the Jožef Stefan Institute. Elgoline’s solutions are built into CERN’s legendary Large Haldron Collider. Slovenia’s biggest manufacturer of printed circuit boards (PCBs) is Intec TIV from Kranj. This company, with revenue around 10 million euros is owned by Elgoline. Another example of solution providers for the labs which break the frontiers of today’s physics also exhibited in Munich: Instrumentation Technology from Solkan near Nova Gorica develops beam stabilisation instruments for particle acceleration.


Printed circuits seem to be one of the key niches for Slovenia’s electronics industry. Five out of nine companies present at Electronica develop or produce PCBs: Elgoline, Intec TIV, Evoteh, Hyb and Proplace. Hyb also develops pressure sensors for industrial use (hybysens) and medical technology. Its hybymed program includes innovative, invasive blood measurement equipment and wireless, closed blood sampling systems. Together with partners Hyb also developed Freehand, an innovative medical device based on an electromotive arm intended for laparoscopic, minimal invasive surgery procedures. Two more exhibitors at Electronica were Etra TT and Šumer. Etra TT manufactures transformers. Šumer is a family business supplying the electronics and home appliance industries with metal and plastic components.

 
The largest Slovenian company present at this year’s Electronica was the Kolektor Group from Idrija. Kolektor, with some 500 million euros in revenue, is one of the leading global producers of commutators, key components of electrical motors. The group is comprised of 30 companies located all over the globe and is strongly focused on the automotive industry. Last year, Kolektor acquired a majority holding in Swiss company Micro Motor and took over Strix, the Slovenian water filtration system manufacturer. At Electronica, Kolektor presented its magnetic component program, vital both for electromotors and electronics.