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Interview

Canovate Group Contributes to Essential Defence Industry Projects

With 40 years of knowledge and experience, Canovate Group will further contribute to the critical technologies required by the Turkish defence industry with local capabilities

 

Aiming to transfer its 40 years of knowledge and experience to projects related to national security, Canovate Group has made significant investments in technologies that can be used in Turkey’s border security projects. After a 3-year period of R&D focus, the company revealed Turkey’s first electro-optical radar “PanTher Radar” which is to be used along the border, at airports, in areas with special security requirements, and ports, etc. Similarly, the “DragonFly” color night vision camera was developed for the protection and surveillance of critical facilities and the “Thermal Radar” which provides 360-degree panoramic observation capability and was developed with the support of TÜBİTAK 1501, are included among the electro-optical products that can be used within the scope of country security. The company also conducts studies on technologies which are necessary and also complementary systems for perimeter security and facility safety such as underground acoustic sensors, acoustic detectors, and Terahertz scanners at its R&D center located in the Istanbul Çekmeköy factory. Defence Turkey Magazine had an opportunity to learn first-hand about the successes and future roadmap of the company during an exclusive interview with Mr. Can GÜR, Chairman of the Board of Canovate Group, which is proud to serve its country by relaying its 40 years of R&D experience and capabilities into the defence industry.

Defence Turkey: First of all, can you introduce yourself and also inform us about the structure and the development of Canovate since its establishment regarding its success in having become one of the top 10 global companies based on technology and product portfolio with its fiber-optic infrastructures and complete data center solutions?

Can GÜR: After graduating from Middle East Technical University (METU) Physics Department in 1975 and Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department a year later, I completed my MS degree in Electronics Engineering in England and returned to my country. Then, I served as an R&D engineer at Gölcük Naval Research Center during my military service, and I was part of the team that re-made the printed circuit boards (PCB) of radar, sonar, and fire control systems. I witnessed how strategically important some of these projects were in those years. In 1979, I founded our company with my brother Özcan GÜR, who is an engineer like me. After establishing our company, we developed the first ‘digital reactive power factor meter’ in the world. The ‘Europe Electronic Product News’ magazine reported our product as the first product from Turkey. We received great demand for this product and started to export it to 60 countries. Because our product was thirty percent more economical than analog devices, and thanks to its digital technology, it had a much more precise measurement capability. In 1986, we started businesses with foreign companies in the field of electronic components to become their distributors in Turkey. We took over the Ümraniye facilities of Alcatel Teletaş, which was closed in 1996, together with its employees, we wanted the domestic industry to continue production. We started to produce digital plants, radio-links and pay phones with a capacity of 4.5 million subscribers to Türk Telekom. However, during the 2001 economic crisis, Türk Telekom’s decision to stop the purchase of fixed-line telephone exchanges caused us to lose a significant portion of our market share. At that time, we decided to develop and produce our own indigenous products. We chose two core technologies for our company. One of these was the data centers, and the other was fiber-optic infrastructure systems. Foreseeing that these systems will be the dominant technologies in the next 25 years, we decided to design, develop and manufacture our own indigenous products in this field. We invested more than US$25 Million in R&D since 2001. In short, our company, which we established in 1979 with zero capital, today, is ranked 6th in data centers and 8th in fiber-optic systems among the largest global companies in terms of technology and portfolio. We have managed to be ranked among the top 10 global brands.  We have offices and representative offices in several countries, and we export to 72 countries in 4 continents. We export our data centers to various countries such as Austria, Denmark, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the Philippines, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Sudan also we continue to export our end-to-end fiber-optic products to several countries such as Germany, France, Netherlands, America, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Morocco, and Algeria. In our sector, we have international certificates such as UL, ETL, CSA, DELTA, GOST, CE, TUV, TSE, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 180001, and ISO 27001. Vice Chairman of the Board and my son, Cem GÜR has made great contributions to our success in global markets. While conducting and directing data center and fiber optic R&D activities, Mr. Cem GÜR also participated intensively in the sales and marketing activities that we carried out around the world. At the same time, with a patent case filed by the world’s leading rival brands in Europe, we are the first 100% Turkish capital high-tech brand to win a million-dollar patent lawsuit in European Patent Courts as a result of the legal struggle of Mr. Cem GÜR for 1.5 years. In short, Canovate Group is one of the world’s leading R&D and innovation-oriented companies. As a 100% Turkish company, we continue to develop high technology products by carrying out various R&D projects in the fields of information, telecom, the defence industry, ballistic systems, electro-optic systems, and heating/cooling. Since the first day in my 40-year professional life, I have always invested in R&D and innovation. We always remember how much our investments in R&D and innovation contributed to the success that we have achieved in global markets. With over one thousand employees including an engineering team of more than 100 personnel at our premises on an area of 30 thousand m² in Istanbul Cekmekoy, we continue to develop and produce high technology products in the fields in which we operate.

Defence Turkey: What can you say about the production areas, products, and capabilities of Canovate Group companies? When did you start to work in the defence industry?

Can GÜR: I would like to give information about the companies under Canovate Group and their fields of activity.

Canovate Electronics: It operates in 4 continents among the top 10 global companies with end-to-end Fiber Optic Infrastructures and Data Centers Solutions. The company exports 70% of its production to 72 countries and has offices in the USA, Dubai, Colombia, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Moreover, it has invested nearly US$25 million in R&D in 17 years. Within the scope of IoT (Internet of Things) systems R&D and development activities, the company completed the production of IP-PDU (Power Distribution Unit), IP based environment monitoring systems, IP based access control units, IP based modular fire extinguishing systems. It also provides micro, mini, and mobile Data Center solutions, and Its Integrated Data Center solution, ITerra DC is currently available.

Canovate Ballistic Systems:  It manufactures bulletproof vests, floating bulletproof vests, ballistic shields, ballistic blankets, other ballistic armor, and PanTher Radar (electro-optical radar), DragonFly (color night vision camera), Hyperbolic thermal radar products. THZ imaging system (with TÜBİTAK Support): Passive Terahertz scanners, Active millimeter wave imaging systems are also produced. A company which was established by British Aerospace (now BAE Systems) in the UK with 40 years of bulletproof vests and ballistics manufacturing experience and certifications was bought and then started its activities as a Canovate Group company in Turkey.

Canovate High Tecnology: It operates in the fields of urban safety management systems (Turkey Urban Safety Management System under ASELSAN leadership-KGYS), Borderline and critical infrastructure security systems, Face recognition technology, Virtual tactical training simulators for military and police, Turkey E-Agriculture project, Signal acquisition and processing technologies, Thermal radar, Cameras and integrated security systems, and Geographic location (geolocation) detection technologies.

Can Aero: It assembles drones for armed forces and produces professional industrial drones such as “Spider” and “Octopus” with Thermal camera for police and military use, Terahertz scanner, face-recognition, IMSI-catcher (international mobile subscriber identity), and emergency first aid kit, and also manufactures drones for agricultural pesticides, fertilization and crop management including CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) disinfectant spraying drones.

Canovate Energy Systems: It manufactures heating, cooling, and air conditioning systems, Precision air conditioners, chiller systems, Indirect adiabatic cooling systems (IAC - Up to 10 times more efficient than normal air conditioners) and also develops and produces Turkey’s first and only ground, water, and air source heat pumps and exports various products to several countries.

Canesis System Integration: Canesis System Integration performs data center and IT network infrastructure integration especially for public institutions and international organizations. Canesis System carries out the SSB data center, UAV data center, and the TNP (Turkish National Police) business continuity and disaster recovery data center project with STM.

Canpark AVM: Canpark project includes Canpark Shopping Mall and Hilton Garden Inn Canpark Ümraniye Hotel. Canpark AVM continues to be the preferred choice of visitors with its 40 thousand m² of rentable area, 150 world’s leading brands appealing to every level of society, rich restaurant options with 80 different cuisines, 12 VIP movie theaters equipped with the latest technology Dolby Atmos sound system, 10-line bowling alley and over 5 thousand m² of amusement park. Canpark Shopping Mall is easily accessible with a direct connection from the Yamanevler station of Üsküdar-Sancaktepe Subway Line to the shopping center.

Hilton Garden Inn Canpark Ümraniye (İstanbul): Hilton Garden Inn Canpark Ümraniye, designed as part of Canpark Shopping Mall with its 600-bed capacity is the largest Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Turkey and Eastern Europe.

Defence Turkey: Considering your important position and technological experience in the market for data centers what is your current position in the defence sector? What are the projects and activities in this area?

Can GÜR: Canovate has built the data centers of the Presidency of Defence Industries and UAV systems as the subcontractor of STM. In addition, as a result of our R&D work, carried out for 2 years, within the scope of the Internet of Things (IoT) product for the defence industry and general industrial applications, we have developed the IP-PDU (smart plugs, Wi-Fi enabled plugs) product family. We also developed IP based environment monitoring systems, IP based modular automatic fire extinguishers used in IT server rooms and micro data-center cabins, IP based access control units and data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software.

Defence Turkey: Canovate High Technology is involved in the “Urban Safety Management System” project, which is implemented in all towns and cities in Turkey.  As the project partner of Aselsan and Havelsan, can you inform us about the process, technology, capabilities, and the current situation on this topic?

Can GÜR: We are involved in the “Urban Safety Management System” project as the project partner of Aselsan and Havelsan. As is known, the “Urban Safety Management System” is a highly sophisticated project with a number of approximately seventy thousand cameras nationwide. Camera systems are highly effective applications concerning both traffic regulations and public security. As well as its deterrence, it contributes significantly to our security forces and judicial processes in clarifying the events. The system is designed to operate constantly on a 24-7-365 service basis. As Canovate, we produced the systems called” KGYS Box” or “Field Cabinet on which the cameras are mounted. This is not just a cabinet. The system consists of a power box section considering the power outages, as well as switches, voltage regulators, and active cooling units for uninterrupted and rapid transmission of the acquired images. It was designed and produced to work even in the hottest-arid and coldest-rainy climate conditions of our country. More than 17 thousand of these systems were produced and delivered. Another part of the project is field installation. In 23 provinces, Canovate completed the field installations of these systems to a large extent. Some of them became operational, while some of them are still undergoing acceptance tests. As Canovate, we take the necessary measures to ensure the uninterrupted operation of the system in the future. This project is the largest and biggest MOBESE (Mobile Electronic System Integration) application in the world with an overall project value about US$600 Million. With the experience and references we have acquired here, we won the tender for the Northern Iraq KGYS system including all the equipment and devices. Also, we compete in tenders in Saudi Arabia and some countries in Latin America, and Africa.

Defence Turkey: In today’s geography the concept of border security has become more important. What are the other products and capabilities of Canovate Group in this area? Can you share information about the programs on thermal radar and electronic warfare?

Can GÜR: We developed the PanTher Radar, the first electro-optical radar of Turkey. The “PanTher Radar”, which provides 360-degree panoramic observation capability in all weather conditions, started to be used in different fields such as airports, border security, pipelines, coastal security, and wildfire prevention. The first electro-optical radar of our country was developed by Turkish engineers within the Canovate Group as a result of approximately 3 years of R&D. With all these features, the system can be used in military bases, airports, areas with special security requirements, borderline, ports, etc. and it is an alternative to the high-cost radio frequency-based active radars used today. The “PanTher Radar” can be adapted to anywhere with a need for security and surveillance. The system can be easily used instead of long/short range radars and CCTV systems. Currently, there are ongoing security and surveillance systems installations at the airports and borderlines of our country. The Canovate PanTher Radar system we offer provides a cost-effective and high-performance solution that can be used for all these systems instead of imported products. At present, high cost long/medium/short range RF radars, PTZ-IP CCTV systems and PTZ-IP thermal systems are used in security and surveillance systems. The PanTher Radar can perform all the tasks of these systems by itself. In short, the Canovate PanTher Thermal Radar system scans a 360-degree view on the site, provides a 25-35-degree field of view depending on the camera angle, and sounds an alarm when it detects thermal traces or motion in the area it scans. The system also features magnification capability and if required it can zoom in on the desired region. The PanTher Thermal Radar, unlike its counterparts, can be provided with an IR laser illuminator & rangefinder and high-resolution daylight camera with zoom. Furthermore, we are working on algorithms such as smoke detection, particularly to be used in wildfire prevention. In addition, to provide a solution for these requirements we equip the Thermal radar with sensors that measure humidity, temperature, wind, and air pressure values. Thanks to our mini data center that we produce as Canovate, it is also possible to centrally monitor various thermal radar units in a specific region. Currently, we are conducting an R&D project on this matter. With our aforementioned domestic and national product families, the SSB invited Canovate to the tender for the “360-degree situational awareness system” to be fitted on the armored vehicles in Turkey.

Defence Turkey: In recent years, Canovate bought a company, which was established in the UK with the partnership of British Aerospace, with 40 years of bulletproof vests and ballistics manufacturing experience and certifications, and then moved to it Turkey. Has this new facility started production yet? Which products will the factory mainly produce? Do you have “niche” product capabilities that will make a difference for ballistics in the competitive global markets?

Can GÜR: Armourshield in Manchester, UK, was a factory that provided bulletproof vests to the American and British army (such as the troops in Afghanistan) for 42 years. At Canovate, we bought the Armourshield factory in Manchester, UK, with its know-how and equipment. We moved the production line at the Armourshield factory to our factory in Çekmeköy. In addition to the overseas certificates, we have also obtained the required certificates from within the country. Our investments in ballistic systems are still ongoing. At the end of this month, we will install a new autoclave in our facilities and initiate the production process. At the first stage, we manufacture products known as Bulletproof Vests. We are producing different combinations of flexible fabrics -Aramid and UHMWPE (Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight Polyethylene)- known as Soft Ballistics. In this manner, our R&D studies continue to increase energy absorption values and reduce costs by 50%. One of the most vital crucial features of the soft ballistic equipment is the Backface Deformation. Our Trauma Plate option, which significantly reduces this value, is also available to our customers. Furthermore, we also manufacture Hard Ballistic protective plates produced by using Aluminum Oxide, Silicon Carbide, and Boron Carbide. In this context, we continue our R&D studies to decrease weight, reduce costs and increase the rate of localization. Vests with “Quick Release” mechanism to quickly remove the vest and “Floating Vests” designed specifically for maritime operations are among our niche products. Regarding the ballistics, we also produce the armored versions of our container data centers if requested. In addition, we also consider vehicle armoring and armored cabinet production as a potential business opportunity for us.

Defence Turkey: Can you tell us about your studies on UAV and Drone systems?

Can GÜR: Today, the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles has increased in various fields. Our company CanAero has been established to operate in this field. Currently, we are assembling a military drone for our Armed Forces. In this respect, we are working on drones with extended range, altitude and increased endurance that do not exceed 5-6 kg. We are planning to use our “Spider” and “Octopus” drones, which are currently under development, in military and industrial fields. For example, we are working on extremely light systems, which can leave its payload to the desired location, return autonomously and perform interim maneuvers by detecting the obstacles ahead. These systems will be used in forest fires, first aid, border surveillance, perimeter security, and in agricultural applications such as agricultural pesticides and aerial seeding. They are also used in military applications such as image acquisition, first aid & equipment transfer, CBRN disinfectant spray and drop & delivery to the target. Of course, equipping these applications with the necessary sensors and locally producing the software and the necessary algorithms are crucial elements in terms of safety & security.

Defence Turkey: The importance you give to R&D as Canovate and Can GÜR seems to be obvious considering your achievements and the work you have carried out so far. In this context, what is your new vision and R&D goals in the field of defence? What is your plan for the development of critical technologies need by the sector, with local resources? In which areas are you conducting your studies?

Can GÜR: In parallel with our knowledge and experience including the Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0, ballistic vests, Drones, electro-optical radars, terahertz scanners, Urban Safety Management System, and E-Agriculture applications, we will further contribute to the critical technologies required by our defence industry with local capabilities.

Defence Turkey: As a company that exports to 72 countries and dominates some of the markets in a leading position, what are your efforts and goals for the export of your defence industry products and capabilities? Are there any projects carried out on this matter?

Can GÜR: Canovate Group companies develop and manufacture all of their products not only for the domestic market but also for export to global markets. In this context, Canovate Electronics exports 70% of its production capacity to 72 countries in 4 continents. Likewise, we aim to export our products such as PanTher Radar developed as Turkey’s first electro-optical radar, Terahertz scanners produced in cooperation with TÜBİTAK, CBRN disinfectants and drones, bulletproof vests, and the Internet of Things (IoT) product family mainly to abroad. We will participate and exhibit our products at the IDEF 14th International Defence Industry Fair between April 30 - May 3, 2019.

Defence Turkey: Finally, is there a message you want to send to our readers?

Can GÜR: What we should do next in the defence industry, as Turkey, is to develop our own satellites, UCAVs and swarm drones, fixed-wing aircraft, unmanned autonomous armored vehicles, loitering munitions, spy VTOLs and micro-drones, and medium & long-range missiles in aviation and space industry. As Canovate Group, we will continue to transfer our knowledge and experience which spans many years in data centers and fiber optic products to our defence industry.