AZD Prague invests in Bulgarian rail industry


The long-standing cooperation with AZD Prague dating back to 1987 has entered a new phase today, commented Ivan Kovachev, Governor of the Bulgarian-Czech company “Balkan SAST”, at the opening of its new production facility in Sofia. The facility is located at an area of about 6,000 sq. m. and the partners from AZD Prague have invested EUR3 million in its construction, announced Zdenek Chrdle, Director General of the Czech company, to the guests of the event and the facility personnel. The opening ceremony was held on 17th October and was attended by the Minister of Transport, Petar Mutafchiev, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Transport Committee, Iordan Mirchev, the Executive Director of BDZ EAD, Oleg Petkov, the Chairman of NRIC Board of Directors, Atanas Tonev, the Executive Director of the “Railway Administration” Executive Agency, Georgi Nickolov, railway experts and other representatives of the sector.


In his address, Minister Mutafchiev highlighted the fact that railway safety is a topmost priority in Bulgaria. Many of the current systems are outdated and technically unavailable and require total replacement. In this respect, much is expected from Balkan SAST as a producer, which has implemented a Quality Management System, certified under ISO 9001:2000. An Environment Management System is undergoing certification under ISO 14001:1996. This may be considered as one of the most solid guarantees for the high quality of the products of the new facility, as well as for the high responsibility to the customers, stated Ivan Kovachev. He led the official guests round the spacious production and assembly halls, the testing chamber, the laboratory for electronic equipment and the modern canteen, which can accommodate the 50 workers and employees in the company. By end of the year, their number will grow to 80 and in the first half of 2007, the overall personnel will further increase to 100 people.


The production range of the new facility includes state-of-the-art safety systems, switch point machines SPM-1M and SPM-3M, train and shunting traffic lights, road traffic lights, barrier equipment, road sensors, automatic level-crossing equipment and signalling equipment. The company is currently adopting the production of microcomputer station interlocking systems, as well as systems for dispatching traffic control. It is envisaged to launch the production of a system for video control and monitoring of road and rail transport.

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