In this issue we host Chairman of DEARSAN both Turkey and capturing significant success in export markets shipyard with its TUZLA class patrol boats, Mr. Taner Akkaya. From Mr. Akkaya, after retiring from the Naval Forces Command who continued to work for the development of Turkish shipping, we received information about R&D, design and engineering works carried out in DEARSAN and we learned their opinions about the sector.
R&D Magazine: Can you introduce yourself and your company?
Taner AKKAYA: I am the chairman of the board of DEARSAN shipyard. I am retired admiral. DEARSAN was founded in 1980. Until 2001, company repaired ships such as tugboats and tankers. It also produced tugboats in the following years. The first ships produced were exported to EU countries. These were the ships that were designed according to foreign design studies and then crafted and managed. In 2007, with the crisis in the sector, military projects were also included in the fields of activity. Realizing military projects has huge costs, especially in terms of financial and bureaucratic works. These are the issues that many shipyards do not want to deal with during the “good" days when civil works are sufficient. Before the crisis, tanker production was going well; all companies were producing tankers. In military production, bureaucracy is very heavy and quality control standards are very high. It is very heavy processes in terms of cost and labor, when a shipyard reaches the level to build a military ship, especially having some certifications. Approximately 40% of the personnel are not actually involved in production. These are mostly working to improve quality and qualification. This increases the overhead costs considerably, so the initial investment cost of military projects is high. The most important event for us in our history is the delivery of the New Type Patrol Boat (YTKB) project to our company. Parallel to the design and construction works of YTKB project, the shipyard completed all certification processes. An organizational structure that actually applies these certifications, not on paper. In other words, the effort spent on these should not be considered as a waste of time and the money spent on them as a financial burden. If you do not evaluate them in this way, your success in this sector can be permanent. The YTKB project is the first warship built by the domestic industry, which does business to the civil industry, using metal and sheet metal. An ambitious delivery program, such as 3 ships in a year, is carried out. The Naval Forces Command also rewarded the Turkish shipbuilding industry and our company by naming the first ship as Tuzla. Ships are now transferred to the world literature as TUZLA class ships. This is of course a great honor for the shipbuilding industry. Customer satisfaction is high on ships. Final delivery of 8 of them was made. Currently, the 12th is about to be delivered temporarily. A number of ships were also exported to these figures. That is Turkey's first steel ship export projects in the field of defense industry related to shipbuilding. These are many firsts in the industry. Of course, there are some costs of being the first.
R&D Magazine: Can you tell us about the design and engineering works done in your company?
Taner AKKAYA: We design the ship as a design work in our company. Although it can be easily expressed in this way, design is such a big concept. It is impossible for engineers in a shipyard to design a ship by their own. Here you are doing a lot of design management. Because you get support from the university. You give business packages to the domestic industry. For example, you design the boat, but you transfer external information about the shaft-drive system design to your system, then transfer them to universities such as Istanbul Technical University and Yıldız Technical University and they check your accounts. You get it certified by Turkish Lloyd. You get advanced engineering and finite element calculation support from FİGES. You are doing the electrical wiring of the ship with a local company according to high standards. You carry out load analyzes. You get approval from the relevant institutions. You have your studies checked by universities. Looking at this whole picture, dozens of people working in the shipyard do this by contacting dozens of high-value people working outside. Then, for the piping system, the valves are a completely separate design, you have to do this. The interior design of the ship is an engineering in itself. What cabin will be used, what standard will be applied? Where will be the living spaces located? You get a separate design service for their noise. You get separate accounts for the vibration and get support from a separate subsidiary. Then electromagnetic compatibility, which is a completely advanced engineering subject. To do this, you first place your devices and weapons systems. You are doing a separate engineering work for optimum coverage of weapon systems. They will not interfere with each other, but they will engage the enemy best. Each device we put on the ship has high standards. If you buy a Zodiac boat, the standards of the system required to launch it are very high. Even in this, you work for weeks. An iron capstan needs calculations. Some of them have become easy, but engineering calculations are still required. The ship has parameters. It is necessary to calculate the amount of the ship in which sea. You are doing maritime accounts of the ship. You extract the polar diagrams. A ship is actually a living city. As a result, a ship has 70 to 80 thousand configuration elements. You will ensure that these work in harmony, place them in a restricted place, and ensure that they perform very high-quality tasks. All of this is an engineering work in itself. We are happy to be in such an advanced organization. Of course, we do the optimization and preliminary design of all these ourselves. We have our own electronics experts and shipbuilders. We also have the Turkish industry done by the certification institutions. For example, the institution where we measure the noise is the certificate, and the institution where we have the finite element analysis is also a certified institution. An exhaust system is a design in itself. So you will reduce it to a certain noise level; but you will not back pressure. They always want it under such limited conditions, your maneuver area is very narrow. You have done many calculations for this. Even a tiny unwanted noise (singing) in the propeller can keep you busy for days.
R&D Magazine: What is the importance of design and engineering studies in shipbuilding activities?
Taner AKKAYA:Building a ship is like planning a city. Step by step, like needle lace. There are all kinds of systems in it; There are wet areas, water systems, thermal systems, electrical systems, electronic systems, noise systems and vibration systems. The ship is actually a set of systems where all possible problems can arise. You have to see and solve all these problems beforehand. Design and advanced engineering are very important for this. Because after the ship is finished, it is almost impossible to correct something backwards. While this ship is supposed to make 25 knots speed, it is very difficult to make 25 knots if it makes 23 knots. Somewhere the noise level should be 80 dB, while 85 dB is very difficult to fix. If a silencer makes the back pressure 30 dB instead of 28 dB, it is very difficult to lower it. In addition, the placement areas are limited. Removing a device that you put in again means maybe removing a lot of other parts. This means time, time affects cost and contract. Therefore, every money, every effort allocated to design is halal and should not be saved in any way. No savings should be in design and engineering. You will spend money on these jobs.
R&D Magazine: If we think in general terms, what should be the approaches of company management for R&D and engineering applications to develop in our companies?
Taner AKKAYA: As company management, you should give engineers the opportunity to make mistakes in areas where you are comfortable. If you do not make the possibility of making a mistake or do not take the possibility of making a mistake as management, you cannot get very high outputs from your engineering units. Then you will continue to buy ready-made designs from Germany and England. Success is not achieved without errors. But of course, it would not be the second time to make the same mistake. In addition, it is necessary to see the mistakes made in the world by following the literature. There is an article published in the NY Times available on the Internet: "Lesson on How Not to Build a Navy Ship". Every naval engineer should read this. In projects where you are relatively comfortable in terms of budget, resources and time, the authority and responsibility you give to your designers should be more. But the ultimate risk always belong to boss. You have to know it like this. A shipbuilding engineer must be rewarded for doing so however, holding heavily responsible for what they cannot do prevents development of the design. Then these people cannot take risks. You shouldn't scare them.
When we say R&D, the name is very important. If I tell you in a humorous way: It is important to find a name, if it is not beautiful, it does not have a permanent effect on bureaucratic channels. The title of your project should be at least 4 lines. In order for something to be R&D, its name must be in 4 lines and half of it must be in English and half in Turkish. A person should read it at least 4 times, and then say that I did not understand it, so that he sees it as an important task. If we leave the humor aside, it is necessary to eliminate the condition of being incomprehensible for the R&D project to be accepted. We don't need them. For example silencer. When there was a problem with this component, I went to the Netherlands and visited the company. I see that we will be able to do any work on the field in the Netherlands. What we can't do is the calculation of work. For this we look what we haven't done so far. How we can do? Here, FİGES, Mr. Tarık has done great studies on exhaust systems in one of the largest automotive companies in the world. Here is Captain Mehmet, who was trained in the USA and works at the Turkish shipyard's Istanbul shipyard. Back pressure has done very good work on hydrodynamic systems. Thanks to the Turkish Navy, they help us, we applied within the scope of the law numbered 3212, they established a working group and designed a silencer. Currently in Turkey, nobody thought of buying silencer abroad. They say somehow we do it here. The important thing is that we can bring together a friend who has trained himself very well in his field, such as this valuable captain, and a person like Mr. Tarık who has spent years on the engineering of this subject and we can explain the subject.
R&D Magazine: What kind of different practices can be done for the development of R&D in our country according to you?
Taner AKKAYA: Obviously, our education system does not make people wonder. "Why is the apple falling?”, they don’t ask that. I asked our friends here, "What is Pi?" I said. They said its value, but I asked what it was. “The ratio of the circumference to the diameter of the circle”. So where did it come from? The Babylonians found it. While building a round tower-building, they find how many bricks will go to each row by multiplying the diameter by 3.15. But we are not curious about this. Why 22/7? The system keeps people being curious. Because if a system is working we say do not touch. We say do not make new stuff. We prevent children from being curious inside their cars. These have to change. The basis for this is the school. We built ships, there are also those exported. We made a lot of mistakes in these. I would expect the following from our universities, and I suggested to SSM: Let's have a seminar where we will discuss our mistakes. Seminar to reveal mistakes and deficiencies. Nobody will come. "There are ships built here, tell us a story". No student from universities came to this company so far. However, we have ships in all kinds of shipbuilding stages and this is a real shipbuilding laboratory. I have never seen that a teacher from the university gathered students and came to visit us. I think if we want to do R&D we have to question why apple fell in our universities. Universities should make you being curious. Children should not only learn from paper or books should come and see its application. But look, on March 4, a university from the USA is coming to visit us with 40 people! The USA is coming, and there was no student from us. Contrary brain drain is important. Researchers and engineers who are trained abroad should be encouraged to return to Turkey.
R&D Magazine: How do you evaluate the level you have reached as DEARSAN now?
Taner AKKAYA: Titanic ship finished in 36 months. We finished a ship here in 36 months. Titanic displacement was about 70,000 tons. Its construction began in 1909. In other words, I do not think there is an advanced engineering that will surprise the world in our work but I think it is an advanced engineering that will surprise ourselves. Finite elements for a British, German, American are the calculations made for years however, it is important for us to be able to say “We can do these” and set sail for new horizons. This is the exciting part. For years ready projects have been used. When you do it yourself the share of the country, the state and the nation increases. You are constantly rising from sheet work, welding to gun electronics integration. You rise to the level that can perform advanced engineering applications such as noise, vibration and finite element calculations. The excitement of this is huge. Now we can say that we do it to the countries we visit and we explain what we do. At the level we have reached now, for example, Oto Melara, a world giant, no longer thinks when selling cannon to DEARSAN and it does not think that "Does DEARSAN make the part where it will be installed properly, do the air circuit, electrical circuit properly, can they do the system integration with ASELSAN?”. Because now he also believes in Italian. The Turkish industry integrates, employs and trains my weapons. In the past, when we went to such big companies, we were only talking to sales managers about 5 years ago. Now when we go we talk to CEOs, we are met at the airport. This is an indication of where we came from. The key point of this is TUZLA class ships. First of all we need to give thanks, and then we need to express our gratitude to the administrators of our state. They have taken such a huge risk, they have given the honor of making ships to a sector that has been doing sheet metalwork and assembly work for years. I would like to finish my speech, my interview to many thanks to the Turkish Naval Forces, Defense Industry Undersecretariat (SSM) and the Republic of Turkey. In this sector, 15-20 thousand people live with DEARSAN and their families. Thank you also for these people. Thanks to these risks they take so we can talk about a billion dollar wheel, which we think is now at 60%. These are awesome numbers. No such thing that we have done we work with the oxygen given by the institutions of the Republic of Turkey.
R&D Magazine: Can you tell us about your business abroad that you just mentioned?
Taner AKKAYA: So far, we have built up to 20 ships for our overseas customers. Export is the duty of the homeland, it is sacred. Everyone has to export. Every thing we produce must be sold abroad. One issue to be addressed here is that in our overseas sales, we are selling “kitchen” rather than “food” if it is appropriate. We offer to our customers to contribute to the development of their institutions. We attach importance to the certification of their shipyards, the development of quality control processes and the training of their personnel. We attach importance to occupational health and safety measures. I think that we provide really good trainings especially with our personnel specialized in warships. In order to export, we need to get business from within the country. In order for us to meet these high operating costs and overhead costs, the business here must return. While establishing this system, SSM created such a vision, thinking that it will remain stable with 5 and 7 shipyards first. It is written in the sectoral strategy document. We made our investments based on this document, made an export much higher than expected and we have a target to do so. But also through our support and we need to get new projects in Turkey. Our facilities in Turkey should work so we can support our facilities abroad.
R&D Magazine: Are there any special meanings for you in the ships you build?
Taner AKKAYA: We make tugboats, tankers and patrol boats. Every ship makes sense for us. The English pronoun is “it" and in Turkish is “o” when talking about the aircraft and the land vehicle. For ships, the "she" pronoun which is valid for the female beings is used, they are assets, they have a quality, and above all, they have a soul. You make two ships, one becomes the first shot, one is the last in the shot. Maybe they are the same ship, they came out of the same shipyard, but the ship has a soul, a living organism. Separate care should be taken for each part. Every place should be done with great care, with love. Therefore, if such an asset lands on the water in your shipyard it will add excitement to you and even a boat will excite us. For example, in Sweden, you will see the ship Vasa sinking, almost as it lands into the water. This incident has caused great sorrow to the people there. I mean we feel the excitement in every ship. Each ship has a different personality even it is from the same class. We are proud of everything we do.
R&D Magazine: Can we get your views on the status and future of Turkish shipbuilding from the perspective of civil and military projects?
Taner AKKAYA: My personal opinion is that the number of our shipyards is high. It is necessary to separate the new construction with repair. I hope God give success in his own way, and keep the benefits. However, I think the vast majority of shipyards are places that need to keep up with today. They must comply with high standards. My personal opinion is that it is a natural selection and its numbers will decrease. This can happen by consolidating and strengthen, or some must leaving the industry. We will see this over time. The bosses will decide it, and the state system will decide. We saw the greatness of the state here: Tuzla region, God forbid!, was a region that was mentioned only by work accidents; now a region known for export figures and products. The state provided this with serious control mechanisms and serious standards. Human life has no material counterpart. I think the studies on this subject have been done very well in the last 4 years. Some shipyards hopefully do not take an approach that tries to stay at the lowest level of these standards in order to reduce costs. We should not only consider occupational health and safety. Environmental standards have also increased considerably in recent times and cost has been affected. I think this leads to the conclusion that those who invest in this issue remain in the sector. But we did not build our own vision on the failure of others, of course, we have no problem with anyone, we are not competitors of anyone.
R&D Magazine: Thank you for this pleasant conversation and for your time.
Taner AKKAYA: : You’re welcome. Finally, I want to say this. There is no chance to be successful in subjects that do not derive their sources from positive science and advanced technique in engineering. We wonder why the ship does not speed up to 44 knots if the ship is speeding up to 42 knots.