You can read the interview published in the August 2019 Issue of MSI Turkish Defence Review here:
“Our aim is to turn DEICO into a technology company with products and solutions worldwide.”
With so many groundbreaking achievements in Turkey in the field of hardware testing devices, DEICO is continuing to work towards converting the knowledge it has gained from its projects into off-the-shelf products. We had the opportunity to speak with Sedat Alantar, Business Development Manager at DEICO, and Yusuf Yıldırım, Director of Engineering at DEICO, about the activities and future targets of the company.
MSI TDR: As a company working especially in the field of testing equipment, you actually operate in an area that has not reached a sufficient maturity in Turkey. In this respect, what would you like to say about DEICO’s work in Turkey?
Sedat ALANTAR: Owing to our expertise in the field, we are able to provide solutions to many problems in the testing system market. The specific field in which we have gained expertise is hardware testing equipment, and we continue to design and manufacture specific testing equipment for electronic and electromechanical devices. This brings us into contact with many experienced and technologically advanced customers. On the other hand, testing is probably the area in which these companies have the least resources to allocate. That’s why they seek our support.
Managing the demands of our users is a highly significant aspect of our work, although there is another aspect that of course involves satisfying the requirements of our users and designing the systems they need from scratch. To this end, our design team of 30 communicates directly with the user when designing a specific testing system. This allows us to design a system that fully matches user requirements.
Another advantage of the experience and expertise we have gained in testing systems is that, even if we do not have off-the-shelf products, we still have ready-to-deploy solutions. To give you an example; we encounter numerous cases in which many of the different features requested by the user in the testing system had previously been designed and produced by us for another project. This enables us to manage the process rapidly. The combination of speed and quality is of critical importance for us, in that sometimes the number of projects that we are working on at the same time exceeds 40. This makes us a company boasting the ability to swiftly design and manufacture testing equipment, even though we have no off-the-shelf products.
Sedat ALANTAR: DEICO’s experience in the manufacture of testing equipment allows the company to gradually manage these processes more easily. Despite our company being only six-years-old, the experience of our staff has progressively increased owing in particular to our low employee turnover rate, and this has helped our company in making substantial progress. One of the main challenges in growing companies is ensuring the transfer of experience from top to bottom. We have been able to overcome this problem through the business management model we applied, which is based on the formation of teams led by several of our colleagues within the company. For example, we actually have five different teams, all of which have a separate leader with more project experience. These teams manage their business processes by coordinating with each other, and by transferring information from top to bottom. We are also taking a disciplined approach to resource management and planning. With the ERP system we have established, we can immediately access such data as how many projects we have underway at any point in time, who we are working with on these projects, and at what stage are the production and material planning phases of these projects. To summarise, the solid communication we establish with the customer, our specialisation in the field and our resource management approach enables us to carry out and manage a large number of projects at a time.
Product Development for Competitiveness
MSI TDR: Aside from the defence and aerospace sector, DEICO is also involved in such sectors as consumer electronics, automotive, food and medical equipment, all of which have their own diversity of requirements. How do you manage to address the distinctive requirements of these individual sectors?
Sedat ALANTAR: We are a company that was born and raised mainly in the defence and aerospace sector, although we have worked in several other sectors over the course of time. Since the defence and aerospace sector demands advanced technologies, it has facilitated our activities in other sectors, especially in a technical sense. It is a sector that demands works at a higher level in terms of technologies, and that makes the work easier in terms of resources and the information shared with us by the counterparty. Today, however, some high standards have been established in many sectors, and off-the-shelf products that reduce costs are in demand. If you are able to offer products based on the solutions you develop, you can easily reach a competitive level in those fields. As a corporate strategy, we are now taking steps to transform the knowledge we have accumulated in our projects into off-the-shelf products and ready-made solutions. We have been engaged in many product development projects in the field of testing and measurement, and will carry DEICO into the future with new products.
MSI TDR: Could you tell us about the shares of different sectors in your turnover?
Sedat ALANTAR: With the development of the defence and aerospace sector in Turkey, the weight of this sector in our turnover has gradually increased. We can say that the share of the defence and aerospace sector in our turnover is around 75 percent, while the total share of the other parts of our business is around 25 percent.
MSI TDR: What kind of R&D projects are you currently carrying out?
Sedat ALANTAR: Our activities on the R&D side have two pillars, the first of which is engineering and system design. We carry out activities to convert the requirements of our customers into products, making full use of the knowledge we possess, designing and manufacturing devices that comply fully with the relevant standards. Our other and more critical activities on the R&D front are our researches into sub-technologies and the development of indigenous products. We aim to turn DEICO into a global technology company that is engaged in the design and production of products and solutions, and by making use of our own revenues, knowledge, information and other resources through our R&D endeavours. Although this is an ambitious goal, it is part of our short-term plans. We set a goal for ourselves to develop products in Turkey through our R&D projects, mainly in the field of testing and measurement and with a high level of underlying technologies, that can compete on the global market.
Sedat ALANTAR: We have a number of R&D projects that are ongoing in different fields. In recent years, many projects have been carried out into the development of avionic cards, equipment and systems in Turkey. We can consider the GÖKBEY and the HÜRKUŞ as examples of these. We have made significant progress in recent years, especially in the verification of avionic equipment. The qualification, testing and verification of the avionic equipment developed for each of these platforms are being carried out with testing devices designed and manufactured by DEICO. Many of our R&D projects in the field of test systems have resulted in new products, including:
- Avionic Card and Unit Testing System (ACUTS)
- Automatic Card Testing System (ACTS)
- Weapon Interface Control Unit Testing System (WITS)
- Helicopter Monitoring Unit Testing System (HEMUTS)
- Slip Ring Qualification Tests (SDQT)
- Submarine Electronic Unit Testing System (SETS)
- Laser Seeker Testing Device (LSTD)
- Digital Board Automated Testing System (DCATS)
On the other hand, we are also working on a product family that will meet the testing and measurement requirements of engineering and production departments in the interface-communication, sensor, power, image and sound segments of the market. Furthermore, we are also engaged in product development projects for industrial data collection systems, for which Turkey is currently totally dependent on foreign companies. It is our goal in this field to see DEICO branded devices in use both in our country and all around the world within three years.
We Apply the Testing Technologies of the Future
MSI TDR: What are the most outstanding features of ACUTS? In what areas does this product provide its user with added values that are different from or superior to its competitors?
Yusuf YILDIRIM: ACUTS, in other words the testing device for avionic equipment, is a product that has been developed by only a few countries around the world. Companies engaged in the development of avionic equipment need such devices for verification and production testing. Many different companies in Turkey have started to develop avionic equipment in recent years, and we developed ACUTS in recognition of this need. ACUTS is actually an umbrella product that can be customised according to customer requirements. With this product, users gain access to a broad spectrum testing and measurement infrastructure. The device can test avionic protocols, serial communication interfaces, and such communication protocols as SPI, I2C, One-wire, UART, CAN, etc., as well as such hardware functions as power, switching, voice and video. In the end, companies involved in the development of avionic equipment can procure from DEICO a ready-made testing environment that meets all of their requirements.
MSI TDR: Since avionic equipment directly affects the safety of an aircraft, they are developed in line with stringent standards. How is this reflected in the test equipment?
Yusuf YILDIRIM: The tests of avionic systems aboard an air platform start with card-level tests and continue with unit-level and system-level tests. For example, at the card-level, we need to know in what type and with which other cards a card will operate, and we perform tests by simulating both the software and hardware environments. At the unit-level, aside from the transactions that we perform similar to those at the card-level, we also perform environmental condition tests, seeing how the components operate under heat, cold and vibration. In Turkey, companies that develop DO-254-compliant hardware need a specific testing infrastructure, and our systems meet almost all avionic standards.
MSI TDR: Looking at systems from a life-cycle perspective, we see that avionic systems are often among the components that are subjected to mid-life modernisations, or changes at even earlier stages. Will a customer of yours using the ACUTS solution be able to adapt the testing system to such changes in the future?
Sedat ALANTAR: Our product has the potential to expand and change. With the installation of the necessary software and hardware on the device, it can be used both for the cards with changed requirements and for new cards. In other words, as the avionic equipment develops, our system can also be developed to adapt to this change. We update and make changes to our systems in line with the changing requirements of our customers, and while the product development process is continuing.
MSI TDR: Testing systems in the Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) category are also within your areas of expertise. Could you give us some information about these systems?
Sedat ALANTAR: In the testing systems we develop, since the hardware to be tested is also online, we can carry out both hardware tests and real-time simulations at the same time. This requires both an advanced level of design knowledge of testing equipment and a high level of knowledge about testing simulation and software. We will be participating this year at Autotestcon, which will be held in the United States in August, with two separate articles in this field, and will be able to share our experience with professionals from all over the world. This is a clear indication of the importance we attach to HIL testing systems , which we consider to be the testing technology of the future. The fact that we have achieved this level of technology allows our company to move toward the future with confidence.
30% Annual Growth on Average
MSI TDR: Although DEICO was founded only in 2013, we see that it has achieved significant growth. Could you give our readers some numerical data with regards to your growth rate and turnover?
Sedat ALANTAR: Since our establishment, we have been growing by 30 percent on average each year in terms of turnover and number of employees. In 2018, our turnover was ₺14 million, and our goal is to increase our turnover by at least 30 percent in 2019. Currently, we have a workforce of 55 people, and expect this to rise to 60 people by the year’s end. Since 2013, we have completed nearly 200 projects with success, developing a total of 1,000 large and small products within in these projects. We operate out of a technopark on an area of 750 square meters, and in parallel with our growth, we will soon be taking steps to build new facilities.
There is another subject I must highlight, which is the fact that the products we develop have high added value. The average price of the devices we manufacture is $2,000 per kilograms, demonstrating the qualified manpower behind our devices.
MSI TDR: How are your operations aimed at the foreign market?
Sedat ALANTAR: Our efforts aimed at developing ready-made products that can be sold abroad and benefitting from these products’ outputs are continuing. We have written a serious project proposal and have shared it with the relevant ministry. Within our strategic plans, we have a goal of becoming an exporter company, and aim to increase the share of exports in our turnover to 70 to 80 percent within 10 years.
MSI TDR: What can we expect to see from DEICO for the upcoming period?
Sedat ALANTAR: Indeed, we want to address growth and other future-related subjects from within a more institutional framework. We are currently drawing up a strategic plan that will include our targets for the upcoming period. We of course have a growth target. In a qualitative sense, we are striving to make our company more capable of competing in the global market, and to sell products in different sectors and in numerous different countries. Rather than being a project-based company, we are working to become a company that can sell off-the-shelf products. We aspire to develop and manufacture testing and measurement infrastructures for all projects in our growing defence and aerospace sector, making full use of our qualified human resources and experience.
MSI TDR: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Sedat ALANTAR: Testing and measurement is a field that has started to develop too late in Turkey, and so importing such equipment is still common. We have managed to rid some of our users of this habit. We are trying to break this habit in all sectors, and to eliminate Turkey’s foreign dependency in this area. To this end, we are seeking to increase the recognition of our company, and to bring to our country the capabilities it needs in the field of testing systems, in parallel to the overall increase we witness in the rate of local participation within our sector.
On behalf of our readers, would like to thank Sedat Alantar, Business Development Manager at DEICO, and Yusuf Yıldırım, Engineering Director at DEICO, for taking the time to answer our questions and for providing us with such valuable information.