Home INTERVIEWS Gökhan KOYUNCU, General Manager of ANDAR “ANDAR is getting ready to take part in innovative space projects with its experience in civil aviation, urban air transport, and military applications.”

Gökhan KOYUNCU, General Manager of ANDAR “ANDAR is getting ready to take part in innovative space projects with its experience in civil aviation, urban air transport, and military applications.”

by Buse Köse

Ümit BAYRAKTAR / ubayraktar@milscint.com

ANDAR specialises in electromechanical actuation systems, supplying a wide range of products for aircraft, urban air transport, new space applications and the defence sector, where intensive use of electromechanical systems is observed. The unique features of ANDAR’s product family are the indigenous solutions introduced particularly at the sub-component level. Accordingly, ANDAR is able to offer crucial solutions that are able to compete globally, and even lead the competition in certain fields. Gökhan Koyuncu, General Manager of ANDAR explains the point reached by the company for the readers of MSI TDR.

MSI TDR: We see that ANDAR has made significant progress over the last few years in terms of implementing its founding philosophy. First of all, how would you describe this philosophy?

Gökhan KOYUNCU: We are a team that has come together to make our dreams come true. Our biggest dream is to be a highly sought-after solution partner in projects that shape the world. We carry out all our activities from A to Z to realize this dream.

To be such a solution partner, you need to establish and maintain a deep control over every aspect of your activities, which requires design and manufacturing capabilities not only at the system level, but also at the sub-component level. We have all these capabilities, and we are moving forward with this infrastructure.

Although ANDAR is not at liberty to disclose several of the projects it has undertaken due to contractual obligations, it provides electromechanical actuator system solutions to satisfy a wide range of needs, from unmanned aerial vehicles to manned fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and from various types of ammunition to ground platforms. Almost all of the Turkish platforms that are currently flying and that are under development contain one or more systems designed and produced by ANDAR.

MSI TDR: How did the mentality of ANDAR’s founding team contribute to the establishment of this philosophy?

Gökhan KOYUNCU: As the founding team of ANDAR, we have been working on the development of aerial vehicles for 15 years, since our time in the Istanbul Technical University (ITU) – Department of Aeronautical Engineering, up until the establishment of ANDAR. Before we established ANDAR, we were sitting on the other side of the table, and this provides us a solid understanding of the needs of platform manufacturers.

We experienced difficulties with electromechanical actuation systems that met specific requirements while designing and manufacturing aircrafts. When we needed a new product to be designed and produced to meet the requirements, we would find that our options were either small enterprises that could not approach the system holistically and had limited capabilities or companies that lacked flexibility as they were too large. We noticed that this deficiency existed not only in the Turkish market but also in foreign markets and this initiated the idea to establish ANDAR with the goal to conduct 50% of our operations for the foreign markets. However, the needs of end users and platform manufacturers in Turkey are so high that we have been mainly working towards meeting the needs of the domestic market since July 2015, when we became fully operational. Almost all of the Turkish platforms that are currently flying and that are under development contain one or more systems designed and produced by ANDAR.

In 2021 and moving forward, we will continue to support projects in Turkey with our growing team, although we have now become more active in the international markets. Our current plan is to carry out our operations for international users and markets through exports and foreign offices.

ANDAR’s mastery of sub-components, including their design and manufacturing, and its advanced production infrastructure, allow it to pack electromechanical actuation systems into different physical dimensions according to customer needs.

Advantages of Technological Depth

MSI TDR: From a technology perspective, what level has ANDAR reached today?

Gökhan KOYUNCU: We are able to develop and produce electromechanical actuation systems, including the sub-components, as our primary field of activity. This provides us significant technological depth and allows us to keep up with emerging trends around the world.

In the field of electromechanical actuation systems, new trends are developing around the world in three main areas:

  • The increased use of electrical systems in civil aviation,
  • Urban air transport, and
  • Increasing Civil Applications for Space.

We are seeing platforms starting to emerge gradually as part of these trends and these platforms require a range of functionalities to be met by electromechanical actuation systems with special capabilities with several specific reliability requirements. For example, platforms that are used in civil airspace are bound by significant amount of safety requirements.

ANDAR is getting ready to take part in innovative space projects with its experience in civil aviation, urban air transport and military applications, and our product family already contains systems that meet these requirements. We also continue our work to add new members to this family. Therefore, we are able to offer turn-key solutions to platform manufacturers when a new demand originates.

ANDAR has completed the infrastructure investments that will allow it to design and manufacture competitive systems.

I’d like to give you an example of the level we’ve reached in regards to technology. ANDAR, along with world’s leading companies in the field, submitted proposals for a solution to be used on control surfaces in a trainer aircraft project being carried out abroad. The control surfaces of aircraft are conventionally actuated by hydraulic and pneumatic solutions, while electromechanical actuation systems are a relatively new innovation in this field. We put forward our own solution that makes use of electromechanical actuation systems along with our ready-to-use sub-systems. All of the other bidders – as some are world’s leading companies – offered hydraulic and pneumatic solutions, which can be considered outdated technologies. Admittedly, the decision here will be determined by the user’s own priorities, but I can safely say that we have offered a solution that can be considered the latest technology, and that has already proven itself, while our competitors in the tender could not.

At ANDAR, we only manufacture our own products and provide the user with all the services necessary to improve and support these systems throughout their lifecycle. As a consequence of our field expertise and past achievements, our company is today recognised in the field as a company that can get it done! As such, we are from time to time asked to resolve problems related to sub-systems that have been procured from abroad and that now lacks support, and we successfully meet the requirements of these requests.

MSI TDR: How did ANDAR achieve this? What would you like to say about your capabilities?

Gökhan KOYUNCU: We have been taking a holistic approach to our work since our establishment. We have the necessary team and infrastructure to design and manufacture not only electromechanical actuation systems but also all of the critical sub-components allowing us to achieve our desired results. With our in-depth knowledge and comprehensive infrastructure in the area of electromechanical actuation systems, we can carry out almost all of our activities without external inputs if necessary.

At ANDAR, we only manufacture our own products and provide the user with all the services necessary to improve and support these systems throughout their lifecycle. As a consequence of our field expertise and past achievements, our company is today recognised in the field as a company that can get it done! As such, we are from time to time asked to resolve problems related to sub-systems that have been procured from abroad and that now lacks support, and we successfully meet the requirements of these requests. This also allows us to support end users in terms of their ability to maintain the functionality of main systems in their inventory.

Besides product development, ANDAR also have the competence and experience in the testing of electromechanical actuation systems and in the development of test devices for such systems. We have the ability to address technology- and design-focused issues, given our knowledge of the testing of electromechanical actuation systems and understanding of what parameters need to be controlled. Therefore, no parameters are overlooked in ANDAR’s tests and test devices. We deliver the test devices we develop to the end user along with electromechanical actuation systems. This means that the end user can test a product they purchased and can identify any defective components, and ensure the serviceability of the repaired product prior to installation on the platform.

We are able to develop and produce electromechanical actuation systems, including the sub-components, as our primary field of activity. This provides us significant technological depth and allows us to keep up with emerging trends around the world.

MSI TDR: Would some projects fail without ANDAR’s contribution?

Gökhan KOYUNCU: Such bold conclusion can only be made by the customers we serve. But there is a fact that can be considered: Many of the projects in which we developed new products and carried out works to support the existing systems in use, as I have just described, came to us as problems that other companies could not resolve. In most of our projects, we have encountered the following scenario: Efforts to develop an electromechanical actuation system for a platform were initiated but stopped at some point, sometimes as a result of an embargo. In such cases, we overcome the issue and contribute to the continuation of the project. Such problem-solving capability is only possible through our dominance, holistic view of the process, and all of the sub-components. As a result, customer satisfaction is achieved, and this is how the “ANDAR gets it done!” perception develops and spreads out in the market place.

Such efforts are often referred to as “indigenisation” in the sector, but what we do is a little different and more advanced. We consider these works as new problems that need to be resolved and the result is an indigenous product that can compete globally.

From Air Platforms to Ammunition and Land Platforms

ANDAR is looking to be granted AS9100 certification at the beginning of 2022.

MSI TDR: What works has ANDAR conducted to date in terms of products and projects?

Gökhan KOYUNCU: Today, ANDAR has number of Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) subsystem solutions from flight control surfaces to electrically powered support systems for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). As such, we are able to come up with any solution required by UAV projects regardless of the location around the globe.

For manned platforms, we offer flight support system solutions for helicopters, trainer aircrafts and fighter aircrafts. Among these are products, such as pedal and autopilot actuators, through which the pilot interact with the platform. We also have solutions related to movement of flight control surface. In helicopters, we provide unique solutions for braking and locking the rotors.

Our ammunition guidance system solutions are already applied to various platforms. These are the items in our product range that have proven themselves in the field and that are now in mass production.

I can say that we have carried out around 30 major projects to date. Our solutions serving in great numbers of different aircrafts are now approaching 1 million total flight hours.

Total flight hours are a recognised indicator of success in our sector although there are other indicators we care about. The main one is the reliability of our products. The feedback we receive from the field suggests that the failure rate of our products is one-tenth that of the products of the world’s leading companies. Our products are also ahead of the international competition in terms of weight, volume, and price (among which weight and volume are especially important in air platforms) and we offer the precise solutions that platform manufacturers are asking for.

Today, ANDAR has number of Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) subsystem solutions from flight control surfaces to electrically powered support systems for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). As such, we are able to come up with any solution required by UAV projects regardless of the location around the globe.

MSI TDR: What is ANDAR’s approach to product development?

Gökhan KOYUNCU: Our approach to product development follows principle of “No Stones Unturned” since an optimised solution cannot be created without full control of the technology and components

We are able to design all main sub-components of electromechanical actuation systems in-house. Some of these units we produce in full, while we produce only the critical components for others. This prevents a well-designed product from failing to perform as expected due to any problem that can occur during the production stage.

ANDAR solves critical problems in electromechanical actuation systems with its interdisciplinary, experienced and dynamic team.

As I mentioned earlier, users who need an electromechanical actuation system in some cases cannot find suitable COTS products. Although they may find a solution by adapting their design to the nearest product, we can make a much better offer via “Product Customisation.” Instead of adapting the user’s design to the sub-system, we can create particular solutions that fully meet the need by adapting the design of the COTS product closest to user’s need or by changing some sub-components and developing a new product. To date, we have successfully completed more than 30 such studies. We also offer the user significant schedule benefits by making these custom solutions available in as little as 3–6 months.

MSI TDR: In terms of products, what position has ANDAR reached in Turkey and in the world?

Gökhan KOYUNCU: Intensive efforts are under way to convert existing hydraulic or pneumatic systems to electrical ones and tier-two manufacturers are currently looking for appropriate solution partners. Today, we can easily say that ANDAR has achieved a solution partner status. For example, we are providing a solution to a European company for use in a helicopter project in their own country and we are working to increase the number of such examples.

Target is an Autonomous Company

2020 was a critical turning point for us. For a while, we’ve been assessing how much we need to grow. Taking fewer risks and remaining smaller was also an option. As ANDAR’s three partners, we made a decision following intensive assessments, and this was in the direction of growth. There is a speed that planes reach when accelerating along the runway, beyond which take off should no longer be aborted, no matter what happens after that point. We have exceeded that point and we have now started out on an irreversible path of growth.

MSI TDR: How has ANDAR reached its goals in terms of corporate development?

Gökhan KOYUNCU: ANDAR is constantly growing in areas such as human resources, number of projects and revenue. In order to realize and manage this growth the right way, we have been focusing on standardization and institutionalisation for a long time. The most tangible outcome of this process will be a structure in ANDAR consisting of functional units that perform their best in their field, each meeting the requirements of the AS9100 certification.

We adopted a process-based approach when transforming ANDAR from a four-person company into a sustainable structure with 120 people. We defined our core and support processes and then solicited support from expert consultants on corporate governance and sustainability, and the result is a unique organisational structure.

I would like to mention some of the factors that attracted the attention of those who first encountered our organisational structure. First, our organisational structure does not have the usual tree shape. Instead, it is a circular structure that demonstrates our integrity. This circle, with ANDAR’s values and goals at its centre, shows that every employee has equal importance, value, influence and contributions, beyond classic management methodologies.

ANDAR’s design and production capabilities provide its products operating in the field with a failure rate one-tenth that of their peers.

One particular noteworthy feature is the fact that we have two units engaged in development activities. Our many years of experience have shown us that R&D activities should be carried out in two different streams.

If you try to come up with new concepts by resolving a problem from a different perspective and with an innovative approach, you should be able to conduct your activities as freely and quickly as possible. The product itself is the main output of this activity. An innovative, pioneering group of people can carry out these activities in a workshop. Sometimes you achieve your goals, sometimes you don’t, but you never come back empty-handed. You either gain a product or a unique experience.

However, for development activities carried out to resolve a need in a repeatable and permanent way, a different approach should be adopted. At the end of the development activities under this approach, you must reach a solution, and it is not enough for this solution to be just a product since the documentation required for the use of the product must also be included in the outputs. You encourage different perspectives and cover the entire lifecycle by using this set of documents. The successful completion of these activities is possible with a large team of engineers, technicians and managers in different branches – from a design assurance leader to a process specialist, from a configuration specialist to a planning specialist, and from a designer to a practitioner.

It is obvious that it is not possible for these two streams to be surrounded by the same process. Therefore, we established two independent development departments: our X Projects department develops innovative and rapid solutions, while our Development and Productization Group transfers its outputs to our production department, creating certifiable design solutions that address the entire lifecycle and meet the requirements.

Although our approach to development involving two different departments is indigenous, it is in full compliance with the ARP4754A guidelines that our development processes are based.

The third interesting feature is the lack of a conventional quality department in our organisational chart. Continuing our innovative approach, we named the relevant unit the “Process Department”, in recognition of our holistic process approach, in accordance with the requirements of the AS9100D certification. We have other principles hidden in our organisational chart, but let’s address them in another interview.

Critical Threshold for Growth Exceeded

MSI TDR: How was 2020 for ANDAR?

Gökhan KOYUNCU: 2020 was a critical turning point for us. For a while, we’ve been assessing how much we need to grow. Taking fewer risks and remaining smaller was also an option. As ANDAR’s three partners, we made a decision following intensive assessments, and this was in the direction of growth. There is a speed that planes reach when accelerating along the runway, beyond which take off should no longer be aborted, no matter what happens after that point. We have exceeded that point and we have now started out on an irreversible path of growth. We have reached a point at which we will make whatever additional investments we need to make and will develop any further technologies we need to develop, while at the same time establishing a marketing network around the world.

For the last three years, we have been moving forward, doubling our numbers in personnel, revenue, and facility size. In 2020, the number of products we delivered exceeded 3,000, although this is actually just the tip of the iceberg. Of our 120-strong team, 60 are engineers who are constantly developing new products and technologies. Below the surface, there are many products, each of which will go into mass production. In order to launch these mass production works without a delay, we have completed our infrastructures in electronics, motor, and gear productions. We also carried out our preliminary studies to obtain the AS9100 certification, and we are now at the application stage. We anticipate this process being completed by 2022.

ANDAR designs all of the main subcomponents of its products. Some of these units it produces itself, while for others it produces only the critical components.

MSI TDR: What are your plans for 2021?

Gökhan KOYUNCU: We aim to take ANDAR on a journey that highlights the brand and raises awareness of the capabilities of ANDAR. Until today, we have always focused on “getting it done”. Now we have reached a certain point in the areas of technology, capabilities and products, and we want to promote them further. We also care about our employees, and we aim to increase their satisfaction above the world average. Promoting what we are trying to accomplish will also serve this purpose.

To increase the satisfaction of our employees, we aim to provide them with an environment in which they can realise their dreams, and institutionalise this concept by making it measurable.

So far, we have had to focus on the domestic market, and of course meeting the needs of Turkey will continue to be our highest priority. That said, we see that we can also achieve a great success around the world with our technology and products, so we will also intensify our work in this direction. Accordingly, we have a plan to open an office in Europe.

We expect 2021 to be the year in which our products exceed 1 million flight hours, depending on the end users’ performance and utilization of their platforms.

We have great ambitions for the future. We believe that one or more of our systems will feature in the solutions developed by companies carrying out innovative space projects. Urban air transport is a growing field of innovation. Our ability to develop “safe” electromechanical actuation systems is a very powerful reference. We are confident that ANDAR will be providing the systems that most players will need for their air taxis. We believe that we will be able to secure a place in the next generation of aircrafts being produced by the leading civil aviation companies, and we are holding many meetings in this direction. We have achieved everything we have set out to do so far.

MSI TDR: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Gökhan KOYUNCU: We have great ambitions for the future. We believe that one or more of our systems will feature in the solutions developed by companies carrying out innovative space projects. Urban air transport is a growing field of innovation. Our ability to develop “safe” electromechanical actuation systems is a very powerful reference. We are confident that ANDAR will be providing the systems that most players will need for their air taxis. We believe that we will be able to secure a place in the next generation of aircrafts being produced by the leading civil aviation companies, and we are holding many meetings in this direction. We have achieved everything we have set out to do so far.

We want to set an example for everyone like us who believe they can accomplish their dreams, and to provide them with an environment in which they can work.

On behalf of our readers, we would like to thank Gökhan Koyuncu, General Manager of ANDAR, for taking the time to answer our questions and for providing us with such valuable information.

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