Mr Toktas, Head of Industrial Automation & Transfer Technologies
Mr Toktas, Head of Industrial Automation & Transfer Technologies

Sn. Toktaş, hat sonlarındaki ağır yük taşımaları işçi sağlığı ve güvenliği açısından olumsuz durumlar yarattığını belirtti. “Robotlu çözümler sunarak, bu noktalardaki sorunları bertaraf ediyoruz” dedi. (haberin devamı İngilizce)

ASE General Manager of Sales said, we realize turnkey packaging and palletizing line projects where robot & conveyor used. “Speed and capacity increase are in agenda of many factories. To bring feasible solution to those demands can only be achieved by using automatic  machines and robots. He said; “Altinay, with references in this area, is to provide turnkey solutions to customers in the effort to run smoothly” Mr. Toktas made important comments about “Altınay’s new collaborative representations & 2013 targets.”

Hello Mr. Toktas, in our previous meeting, you were working on a high-tech battery system for electric vehicles. What is on the agenda of Altinay and the latest about this project?

There have been a number of  changes in our business strucchanges  in our business structuring recently. Within Altinay, we are exploring and moving to the different business areas. Some of them became  incorporation and some are continue to be in the form of research groups. Electrical Vehicle group is one of them.

In the battery technology field, we worked on the control systems and made preparation of cooling-control equipment of the battery modules. Cooperating with Ford and a number of companies from abroad, these studies continues with the tests on the vehicles. Our effort to make a commercial product out of the R&D studies is continue in last one and half years. We shall make an industrial product in immediate future. ASE group is more interested  in industrial automation projects with utilizing robots or without them. Specific applications are being held and realized by our special robotics division in defence group. These are special applications such as ammunition disposal systems and so on, and we are collaborating with companies like Aselsan, Roketsan and Namsa.

These projects are few in numbers, although, require specific engineering know-how. Besides, we have a separate division called automatic parking systems to have our work is carried out in regarding projects. In our industrial robotics group (ASE),we are more interested in projects for serial line production based on the concept of cyclic / repetitive work.  ASE group is starting a new field of activity. This month, we undertook a general representation by a cooperation agreement with an Austrian based company in the field of AGV called “DS Automotion”.

Sales and project activities as well as spare parts and service will be undertaken. The scope of cooperation will be in four main sectors, namely, hospitals and healthcare, intralogistics, print & paper and automotive industries. we are strong in automotive and supplier industry, but in recent years, especially logistics sector had a enormous growth in Turkey. In logistics sector, using Driverless Vehicles (AGV–Automated Guided Vehicle)  are very common. Besides, in abroad, AGV is also widely utilized in news printing & healthcare / hospitals. DS has very solid worldwide references in automotive industry and in Turkey, Sabah Group is an important reference. Some of our staff is already trained for AGV, and we will be starting sales and marketing activities beginning of next year.

Since, we already successfully completed projects in logistics sector including palletizing and warehouse automation, outcome of the new cooperation with DS Automotion, may be thought as our alternative product.  Our aim is to provide robot integrated broaden perspective solutions to our customers. In general, by operating in different industry segments, we also aim to increase our turnover besides influence domain and decrease the negative influence of sector-specific imbalances in certain periods.

ALTINAY design engineers at work
ALTINAY design engineers at work

What are the packaging and palletizing automation solutions that you offer? What are their pros brought to production?

Currently, we are actively working on robotic projects in general industry and food companies. In the past, we realizeda warehouse automation application for Mustafa Nevzat firm. Nowadays, we are preparing solution proposals for the packaging and palletizing lines where conveyors & robots actively used. Especially, end of line applications  and some  palletizing or automotive part palletizing applications might be for handling heavy loads. In such, manual stacking and  transport, conditions, worker health and safety become unsuitable for application. We aim to provide solutions with robots and AGVs at these points to eliminate any weaknesses that may occur for the overall project realization.

Speed and capacity increase or a new line of production is in the agenda of many factories. To achieve these goals can only be possible by utilizing automatic machines and robots as much as possible. Some prospect customers have quality expectations for the final product where for manual operations can lead to quality weaknesses or even product lost. For these issues, we are working as a solution partner with firms. As a well known and trustworthy an automation solution provider in Turkey, we are in the effort of providing seamlessly working turnkey solutions to customers in different industries.

Which is your strategic target industry and why?

85% of our turnover consists of the projects in automotive and its supplier companies. Of course, automotive is the strategic sector for us. However, to name the sectors those we want to make breakthrough, are logistics and food. We want to increase the sectoral diversity.

Complex system integration solutions
Complex system integration solutions

You are providing service for the projects that require  high-tech and know-how. Can you tell us the advantages  and disadvantages of serving in such a position, in Turkey?

Our major problem is not able to find already trained human resource. In general, we are having difficulty to find graduated and ready to work human resource. Graduated  engineers from engineering faculties in abroad have much more experience and sectoral integraration. Therefore, first thing we have to do after we hire someone is to train and give him/her experience in the industry and the process of making any recruit useful for us can be overrun as 1 or 2 years. In order to overcome these problems, we prepared in-house programs to train and orient new recruits. To accelerate this process, we also tend to hire people whose internship recruitment previously done, because in this period we are adapting and giving role in our active projects.

To come to another annoyance, automation sector seems too much dependent on foreign both componentwise  and integrator-wise. Because of infrastructure and couldn’t get the necessary state support, development of domestic industry in modern engineering components and  integration is pacing little slow. There are examples that, in the past, some firms had unpleasant experiences working with domestic companies, there are also take no risk managers or multinational companies which are already depended on foreign products. It can be little hard to break these prejudices in some companies. Especially for the  multinational firms those are making investment in Turkey, they tend to provide the solution for the value added investments from their origin country. When we explain how we engineer to manufacture, our references and our competence, they become convinced and are willing to work with domestic companies. Of course, we have to be giving the same level of quality and service as foreign companies have. Our advantages over foreign competitors, especially in  global projects are the total cost and the solutions methods. We use slight cost advantage of being a company based in Turkey and the Turkish engineer, who is more devoted to his work and vision, ambitious and flexible.

How many people do you currently employ in Altinay?

A hundred forty people work in our organization. Seventy of them had been doing engineering work. A part of them is working in assembly constructions.  In manufacturing, we predominantly work with subcontractors. Design, installation, commissioning, mechanical, electrical, automation & assembly processes, all, carried out in Altinay’s premises.

Are prospect customers generally come to you with investment plan, or failing system aspects and problems?

They are coming for both of them. If the company decided to invest, then they usually come with investment plan. Some of the firms are coming for the correction of deficiencies in the existing production line. When, we started cooperation with the company, in general, we also do surveys in different parts of their existing production systems and, if it’s found, we are offering them our tips in these parts also.

What are the factors that make Altinay come forward in turkey projects?

Altinay has acquired its highest standards from the working experience in the automotive industry. Automotive sector is difficult one. Such that, installed system has to work under difficult conditions, three shifts a day and throughout the year and it must operating error-free, because the cost of downtime is very high for the customer. Therefore they are preferring companies, which is capable of doing such systems and very selective in this respect.

Altinay wants to be successful in other sectors from the gained and absorbed experience in Automotive. In the past years, we were successful of doing this for glass industry applications. In particularly for Sisecam group, a lot of projects are realized and all of our systems which convey all our experience in automotive, are at least as good as the ones done before by our foreign competitors in glass industry.

We believe that we are good at transferring experiences, and the most important factors that make Altinay come forward are experience, test and R&D abilities.

How is the approach of our countryman to pay the price for engineering services?

This depends on the sector.

There is no such distress in automotive industry where established engineering culture exists. When we enter some other sectors, we are not putting this forward this to much. However, since this is not a product, we are making sure of that without paying for engineering, integration service cannot be bought. Over time being, I think, some understanding will be in place for the local companies.

How Altinay is completing year 2012? What are the targets, and the predictions for year 2013?

Currently, we have received 23.2 million euro order from automotive sector. Our gross order value became around 28 million Euros. So, this is very good number and, so far, this amount is the highest one. The primary reason for us to achieve this is the automotive industry projects, particularly engaging with Ford-Otosan’s local and for Renault’s abroad investments. For year 2013, we already have an 18 million Euros worth of business connection for automotive industry. We are currently targeting to fix our yearly business potential around 30 million Euros.

Concurrently, investments made for human resources to increase our capacity. Preparation of about 15 co-workers to join our team is in progress. In year 2013, we hope to receive orders from general industry and food sectors besides automotive.

In which countries you have international references?

More in automotive industry, for Renault, we have made references in Romania, Morocco and Spain. In General industry, we made installations in Bulgaria, Romania and the Netherlands. Nowadays, the progress is towards the industrial countries in central Europe. In order to be accepted as “can make the project” company in these countries, the company should have successfully completed projects in other countries. For example, if we want to make project for Ford Germany, they are asking for what we did for Ford Turkey.

We completed almost all of our reference projects in Turkey. For any project of Renault in Europe and Africa regions, Altinay is especially invited as panel member. We want to do the same for Ford. Currently we made contacts for the V363 and B460 models in Kocaeli Plant. Installations for V363 will be starting in February this year. B460 will be starting in the second half of this year. hus, we will set up most of the body production line for Ford in Turkey. These references will be the great references for the engineering centers. We are in contact with Daimler and BMW. In the next few weeks, we will be visiting Germany and there we will describe the reference projects. Therefore, our activities in abroad seems to increase.

Assembly hall at ALTINAY
Assembly hall at ALTINAY

Large investments in the main automotive industry in Turkey are held in 4 years period. These are generally happening like one year Ford, one year Renault, one year Tofas-Fiat and another year Toyota. However, to increase the turnover, we need to sign more than one contract in the same year. Increasing turnover is not something that can be done by staying put in Turkey. For this reason, we started to think a little more for abroad, and our relationships with the automotive industry will continue to grow.