Atacan Güner \ Assan Hanil General Manager
Could you please inform briefly about Assan Hanil’s activities?
Assan Hanil was founded in 1997 with the partnership of Kibar Holding and the South Korean company Seoyon E-Hwa; it initiated production as an OEM Part Supplier in the automotive industry. Our shareholder Kibar Holding operates 19 companies in 9 different sectors while Seoyon E-Hwa possesses 18 production facilities and 5 R&D centers in 8 different countries. With a turnover of 216 million euros in 2017, our company made it to the Top 500 Industrial Enterprises list, which is announced annually by the Istanbul Chamber of Industry, for the fourth time and ranked 173rd in 2017.
We carry out product development activities for automotive and aircraft seats along with trim parts. We develop and manufacture high value-added products, such as seat systems, cockpits, bumpers and door panels for the automotive industry, and high-tech seat systems for aircraft cabins. We are contributing to localization by increasing the use of domestic seats instead of imported seats in both aircrafts and vehicles. Moreover, we are the first and only company in Turkey which manufactures aircraft seats.
We have created special composite solutions for vehicle mitigation with products such as composite door panels, bumper collision bars, and radiator carriers. We also play a stimulating and supportive role in the development of the technological ecosystem with the products we have developed in our country. In the medium term we will invest for automotive electronic components in Turkey. In this way, we will transfer the production technologies of these parts, we will benefit by reducing the current account deficit in our country by supplying locally where these products that are currently imported.
Where are your production centers located?
We carry out high-tech automation-based production at 3 different locations with 2 facilities in Kocaeli and 1 in Bursa, which are established on a total area of 80,000 m2, with more than one thousand expert employees. Our activities and investments are underway at full speed to provide the best and most original solutions in the automotive industry. We plan for our fourth facility, which will be located in Aksaray and will allow for the production of high value-added products, to initiate production in mid 2019. In the medium term, we plan on acquiring a company in Europe in order to be positioned closer to customer locations. We at Assan Hanil manufacture driver and passenger seats as well as door panels, front and rear bumpers, instrument panels, consoles, carpets, radiator carriers, inflation parts, torpedos, and interior and exterior plastic parts. As you may know, no product technologies oriented towards electronic and autonomous vehicles exist in Turkey. We aim to transfer product technologies, as well as technologies to manufacture such products, to Turkey and to contribute to the localization of the automotive industry through new investments.
Could you please inform about the establishment of your R&D Center and its overall activities?
We at Assan Hanil have been carrying out R&D activities since 2010 at our ministry-approved R&D Center. At our R&D center, we carry out product development activities for automotive and aircraft seat systems, plastic and composite automotive components, as well as production process development and advanced research activities. As a result of the activities was have conducted since the founding of our R&D Center, we have obtained 40 registered intellectual property rights and have 20 applications that are currently in the evaluation process. We have grown in the last two years by increasing the number of employees at our R&D Center by 35 percent.
What are some of the activities and projects that you have carried out/prepared at your R&D Center?
With the air suspension driver and passenger seats (ASD) we developed for commercial vehicles at the Assan Hanil R&D Center, we became one of the 5 technological companies in the world with the ability to develop and manufacture products in this field.
Within the scope of our uniquely designed air suspension commercial vehicle driver seat (ASD) project, we signed a supply agreement with Ford Otosan. The mass production of ASDs, which will be used in the new truck that was developed by Ford Otosan in Turkey which will be introduced to the market in September, will be initiated in September of 2018. We possess the flexible production capabilities to be positioned close to customer locations. For this reason, we are planning to invest 40 million euros for ASD in the medium term and establish a production facility in Europe. Our feasibility activities in this area are currently underway.
How do you evaluate your company’s approach towards topics such as R&D activities, technology, innovation, etc.?
Offering high technology and quality at affordable prices in the industry we operate in is regarded as the most important innovation. For this reason, our greatest effort is to provide smart solutions by making use of our advanced design and engineering capabilities in our products. We manage all activities at our R&D Center using engineering and technology management tools. In addition to creating the right design inputs through patent and technology scanning, we strive to pursue the right goals by focusing on the medium and long-term goals of our global customers in the market.
Overall, how has your R&D Center contributed to your company?
Through our R&D activities, we aim to become a company that produces advanced technology in Turkey and is capable of providing products to customers worldwide. We procure several of the sub-parts of the products we have developed with various technologies from companies in the sub-industry in Turkey. By doing so, we develop the technological capabilities of both our company and the sub-industries we work worth and encourage our suppliers to invest in R&D in the medium and long term. In the upcoming period, we hope to carry out the “Product Life Cycle Management” of the products we develop and improve the efficiency of our product development cycle with shorter “Time-to-Market” periods. In brief, we create the products and information developed by our global competitors abroad within our own company and generate higher added value in the automotive value chain.