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Turkish foundry commissions new casting production facility

In September 2017, Trakya Döküm commissioned a new production facility which houses the company’s sixth Disamatic moulding line. Here Mr Ugur Kocaoglu, Trakya Döküm’s general manager, talks to Foundry Trade Journal about this new investment that includes the fully automatic and synchronised 270A Disamatic line.

FTJ: Please give us the history of Trakya Döküm, which has been in the casting industry in Turkey for the past 40 years, and since its foundation has distinguished itself with its modern production techniques and facilities?

UK: Trakya Döküm was founded in 1977 in Lüleburgaz, Büyükkaristiran as part of the Soyak Group of Companies starting production in 1982 with two Disamatic casting lines. As one of the leading foundries we have continued to evolve to where we are today. We have six Disamatic casting production lines which can offer production and processing capabilities ranging from grey, ductile, malleable and vermicular castings in weight ranges from 100g to 30kg.

Trakya Döküm has the internationally recognised IATF 16949 Automotive Quality Management System standard as well as customer satisfaction, occupational health and safety, environmental, social responsibility and information security management system certifications. We are within the top 500 industrial companies in Turkey and have an important customer portfolio both at home and abroad. Trakya Döküm supplies raw cast and machined parts as well as partially assembled parts to various sectors predominantly to automotive, white goods and construction sectors.

What about the sectors, production diversity and technology of Trakya Döküm?

Trakya Döküm supplies high quality raw, machined and assembled parts mainly for automotive, truck, white goods, hydraulic, railway, construction and machinery industries. We aim to increase our machined part production which today is at 30 per cent up to 40 per cent. We support our customers in their localisation efforts and invest in the technological machinery and test equipment required to produce these parts. We are trying to support our customers by participating in their new product development initiatives.

We have set our strategy to produce automotive safety critical and complex parts in these sectors we currently serve. We are however always endeavoring to be a pioneer in the sectors we serve to gain economic and strategic advantages which benefits both Trakya and our clients. This is one of the reasons we are constantly updating our facilities with the latest technology equipment. We have made it our mission to serve our customer in such a way that we exceed their requirements.

What are the countries that Trakya Döküm is currently exporting to and what is the export rate?

Exports account for 41 per cent of our total production. The main export market of Trakya Döküm is Europe, where the main two countries are Germany and the UK. We also supply to France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Sweden, Romania, Poland, the US and some other countries which make up our current exports to 25 countries around the world.

As a Disamatic foundry, Trakya Döküm has produced with five Disamatic moulding lines. In addition to these lines, you have invested in a new production line. Could you give us some information about this new investment?

Our new investment, namely Disa 6, was planned to be a fully automatic and synchronised moulding line. This new investment is to be considered as a ‘completely independent foundry plant investment’ housing its own sand plant, melting unit, automatic pouring furnace, treatment system and the moulding line, including all the processes starting from raw material entry up to the parts’ shipment. This new investment has been operational since September 2017. This new facility produces spheroidal and grey cast iron products and provides an additional capacity of 20,000 tons per annum.

In addition to our Disamatic investment which will result in additional capacity, we have other investments which look to balance the capacity in order to avoid bottlenecks, increase the efficiency, enhance the machining capacity and some other automation and control equipment investments to increase the quality levels. These investments are also in progress within a planned framework to meet Trakya’s business objectives.

We know that the new production line is different than the existing ones. Could you tell us more about the distinctive features of this new investment (in terms of technology, automation, robotic systems and so on)?

This new foundry reflects our many years of experience and knowledge. We have built a fully automatic and synchronised facility with the Industry 4.0 infrastructure, using state-of-the-art machinery, equipment and automation systems. We have also increased our competitive advantage with our new foundry investment thanks to its lean, fast and highly efficient processes.

What was the production capacity of Trakya Döküm and how much has the capacity increased as a result of this new investment?

Trakya Döküm used to have five Disamatic moulding lines with an annual capacity of 65,000 tonnes. Because of our new foundry investment that has been operational since September 2017; our installed production capacity has increased by 30 per cent. Today, Trakya Döküm has an annual capacity of 85,000 tonnes with its six Disamatic moulding lines.

With the current investment, did the closed area of Trakya Döküm increase? What kind of change is expected on the employee count?

With the new investment, our closed area has increased 15,170m2. Our total closed area has therefore now increased to 85,182m2. Employee count has increased ten per cent, reaching 1,000 employees.

Trakya Döküm’s perspective on growth is well known in the sector and by its stakeholders. What is the company doing to adapt itself to the needs and demands of the market?

We can see that direct raw casting purchasing in global automotive and similar industries is decreasing. The current trend in the industry is to purchase fully machined castings or finished, ready to fit final components. This new trend is causing casting producers to become second or third tier suppliers. In regard to these developments Trakya Döküm is planning its investments to produce parts with added value, taking major steps to supply the industry with machined, assembled parts which can be used directly in the customer’s production line.

In line with our vision, we are constantly making new investments to increase our production capacity and technological capability. We especially consider productivity improvements and added value production as strategically important.

Mr Kocaoglu, as an influential figure who is following both the Turkish and global casting sectors, how do you see the casting sector’s production trends affected by the current technology trends? Currently Industry 4.0 and even AI (artificial intelligence) are amongst the discussed topics. How do you position these new developments in the casting industry?

I believe that when compared to other production methods due to its advantages and new technologies, the casting sector will maintain its importance in both the Turkish and global markets for many years.

The current production concepts are being reshaped by new technological developments and new customer requests and expectations. It is not possible to fulfil all these new requirements coming from new production concepts with just one technology.

To survive in today’s global, competitive environment, companies should not forget that while integrating technological applications such as the Internet and big data into their manufacturing systems, the most important issues are still to create high added value by creating a robust value chain with design, R&D, production, marketing and sales. Enterprises that are open to developing themselves will have significant opportunities in the areas of productivity, innovation, added value and sustainability.