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Interview

FEMSAN on Track to Become an Important ‘Technology Producer’

In this exclusive Defence Turkey interview, FEMSAN General Manager - Melih Turan İPEKÇİ shares FEMSAN company insight and it’s 30-year history manufacturing electric motor

DefenceTurkey: FEMSAN has been active in designing and producing electric motors for 30 years and has been manufacturing products for the defence industry for the last 15 years. Can we get information about FEMSAN’s current organizational structure, personnel status, 2018 growth, and expectations for 2019?

Melih Turan İPEKÇİ: We have been serving in this sector since 1989. As the FEMSAN family, by means of gained achievements during this 30-years period, we have completed considerably critical tasks. 

These days, we have two different production facilities which are subsequently for general industry and for the defence industry. Our number of total employees is now over 160, including our R&D company with its 20 personnel. Serious conversion and improvements have occurred in our national defence industry for the last 4 years. Undoubtfully, awareness and the positive atmosphere that exist in our defence industry brought forth benefits to FEMSAN while it was attempting to improve its activities in this field. We achieved considerable growth in 2018.  Our expectations for 2019 are that we want to keep growing in a controlled manner at first and foremost. Our preliminary preparation has been completed for export activities in the defence industry. You have to take your steps carefully and steadyingly to create a sustainable business collaboration in the international area. 

DefenceTurkey: Mainly operating in the fields of electrical, mechanical and electronic services, FEMSAN initially focused on Direct Current (DC) motors to meet the requirements of the period, however, in order to fulfill market demands over time, different types of motors such as Permanent Magnet/PM Motors, Servo Actuators and Aircraft Alternators are also included in the product range. What can you tell us about FEMSAN’s current production infrastructure and main product range?

Melih Turan İPEKÇİ: We have quite a modern production facility equipped with high-level possibilities to serve the defence industry. Production processes such as machining, laser beam welding, and painting are performed in this facility as well as assembling. In addition to this, by means of our capabilities to design and develop test platforms we are able to compensate our customer’s test requirements.

Everything started by producing DC motors 30 years before. The world changes day by day and every period comes with new necessities. You have to give reasonable responses to the requirements of the present time that you live in. FEMSAN has done this magnificently and as a result has become the first servo motor manufacturer in Turkey. Today, we are the only component-based DC motor producer and have the capabilities to design and produce highly reliable electromechanical actuators, UAV alternators and some sub-systems such as wing assisted guidance kits for the defence industry.

DefenceTurkey: Can you inform our readers about FEMSAN’s view of R&D, its R&D team, the share of R&D in turnover every year and the main R&D investments/activities?

Melih Turan İPEKÇİ: Innovation and R&D are the most important factors for companies to improve their businesses in Today’s world. FEMSAN is moving forward step by step toward its future targets with this consciousness. We have an R&D company with 20 employees and around %10 of our turnover was allocated for R&D activities in 2018. FEMSAN has successfully completed three projects and on the other hand still, have six on-going projects for the defence industry. 

DefenceTurkey: What can you share about FEMSAN’s export activities and its position in the world? Are there any international events in which FEMSAN is currently interested? Can you inform us about your export targets?

Melih Turan İPEKÇİ: We already export motors produced for general industry. The direction of our Export activities are mostly Europe. We are going to start exportations for the defence industry in the near future and for this purpose, we have been actively participating in international defence and aerospace fair organizations. Our international marketing activities will be speeded up in 2019, to build upon us proven national market success and carry it forward into the global market.

DefenceTurkey: Under the Presidency of Defence Industries R&D and Technology Roadmap, the Contract Signing Ceremony of Aircraft Materials and Control Actuator System Technologies Projects was held on February 20, 2014. At the ceremony, a contract for the Slotless BLDC Motor Development Project was signed between Turkish Aerospace (TUSAŞ) and FEMSAN Electric Motors Industry Partnership and the SSB. The aim of the project was to develop servo motors/actuators in accordance with DO-178 and DO-254 standards to be used in TUSAŞ product ANKA UAVs and other Strategic UAV platforms specified in the road map under a 36-month calendar with national resources. What can you tell us about the technical specifications of the indigenously designed, produced and tested servo actuators and the current state of the project?

Melih Turan İPEKÇİ: The studies carried out within the context of this project, following the design actions in 2016, dynamic behavior development studies for ANKA’s flight requirements were finalized in 2017 and the qualification process was started in 2018. The final stage of the project has begun, and its technical requirements had been determined by TUSAŞ considering of ANKA and future generation aerial vehicles. Servo actuators, certifiable in aviation and DO-254 compatible, will be taken part in our national defence industry after completing the qualification process. Thanks to FEMSAN’s acquired technical capabilities these products may have been taken place for a lot of platforms. Several important technical features of servo actuators are listed as below;

Process: DO-254 DAL-B

Redundancy: Electronic Controller and Motor

Electricity Compliance: MIL-STD-704F

Environmental Conditions Compliance: MIL-STD-810

EMI/EMC Compliance: DO-160G

Reliability: MIL-HDBK-217F & NSWC-11

Altitude: 30,000 ft

Low Temperature: -55 °C

DefenceTurkey: As per the need for indigenous digital servo actuators for ANKA UAVs, you signed a contract with Turkish Aerospace on 31 December 2013 according to the SSB 2013 Annual Report. Can you tell us about the latest situation regarding the deliveries and the difference between the digital servo actuators that are delivered under the contract and the analog servo actuators that have been used before?

Melih Turan İPEKÇİ: The digital transformation of servo actuators in today’s technology leads to many advantages. FPGA based control architecture has been installed on the control side and all current, speed and position controls, fail-safe controls, control of communication packages and monitoring of parameters have been implemented in the FPGA environment. Using the advantages of the FPGA control architecture, possible error conditions can be detected very quickly, and control cycles can be increased to very high speeds and creates an increase in the controllability and dynamic response capability of the system.

All the Required security functions on the servo actuator and aviation systems are entirely digitally implemented. The qualification process of the developed servo actuators was initiated in 2018 and the first deliveries are planned for 2019.

DefenceTurkey: Is it possible to use the indigenous UAV servo actuators developed under the project on other UAV platforms such as the BAYRAKTAR Tactical UAV and AKINCI Combat UAV?

Melih Turan İPEKÇİ: Within the scope of the project carried out under the roof of the SSB, during the qualification process of servo actuators, we have gained technological capabilities. Thanks to our capabilities, we are able to develop unique products for various platforms. Currently, linear actuators, that are being customized by similar technologies, can be used in many guided missile platforms. Studies for usage of similar systems such as the BAYRAKTAR/ AKINCI UAV and the Turkish Aerospace GÖKBEY Light Class Utility Helicopter, are being carried out in addition to guided missiles. 

DefenceTurkey: FEMSAN also designs and manufactures the Fin Control Actuation Systems and Mechanical subsystems within the scope of the industrialization studies of Wing Assisted Guidance Kit (KGK) and Aselsan product STAMP RCWS. What can you tell us about the indigenous weapons systems which incorporate FEMSAN product servo motors and actuation systems?

Melih Turan İPEKÇİ: FEMSAN designes and manufactures azimuth & elevation axis actuators for weapon systems on armored ground and naval vehicles. STAMP is only one sample of these kinds of applications. Weapon platforms require very compact actuators that could precisely move the weapon to the firing position. Besides, it is supposed that it maintains the required position for shock loads during burst firing, and of course, it is able to handle harsh environmental conditions. FEMSAN has been supplying customers reliable actuators to be carried out in any kind of mission for more than 15 years.

Fin control actuation systems (FCASs) are sophisticated sub-systems to control the position of the missile fins in response to steering commands from the flight computer. The typical FCASs consists of four actuators and associated control electronics all integrated into a ring that matches the outer mold line of the missile. FEMSAN has provided full-service engineering and manufacturing of custom electromechanical control actuation systems to guide missile fin position. FEMSAN’s proven applications experience includes air-launched guided bombs and munitions, direct attack missiles, air defence, and naval defence missiles.

DefenceTurkey: The Brushless DC Motor Development Project signed on January 31, 2014, was one of the Technology Development Liability (TDL) projects coordinated by the Department of R&D and Technology Management Advanced Materials and Energy Group within the scope of procurement projects carried out by the Department of Weapon & Ammunition Systems and Roketsan as the main contractor. The aim of the project was to design, develop, test and manufacture slotless brushless DC motors with high efficiency for use in control actuation systems of guided missiles, especially anti-tank and air defence systems, instead of conventional slotted DC servo actuators. In this context, the Brushless DC motors (16 motors in 3 different types) to be designed and produced were intended to be used in different indigenous missile systems such as the UMTAS and HİSAR-A/O and particularly the ATMACA Anti-Ship Guided Missile. Can we get information about the latest situation in the project?

Melih Turan İPEKÇİ: We carried out the work provided to us related these projects in 2016, and throughout 2017, these products were qualified for defence and aerospace successfully. In accordance with the project setup, all processes were monitored closely by the SSB and ROKETSAN. This led to the development of an indigenous, high-performance product family and Femsan was thus able to start meeting the specific requirements of Turkey’s leading defence and aerospace companies. The slotless BLDC motors we developed are now used in the fin actuation systems of various types of ammunition.

DefenceTurkey: FEMSAN started the serial production of Slotless Brushless DC Motors in the second half of 2018 after the completion of the R&D process. Thanks to their compact structure, these types of motors have been used for a long time in demanding projects where each gram is calculated. It is quite easy to see the fields of defence and aerospace as the primary users when we look at the usage areas of the slotless motors in the world. In our country, similar products have been used for a long time in our defence industry. What are the advantages of slotless DC motors over conventional slotted electric motors, which were the first ones to emerge in the industry, and why is it important for our country to gain this production capability?

Melih Turan İPEKÇİ: Slotless brushless motor designs offer many advantages over conventional slotted stator construction. Negligible magnetic cogging provides improved servo performance and enables extremely smooth motion even at low speeds. Low inductance and high current bandwidth results in fast motion response times. Slotless construction also provides excellent winding heat transfer for high thermal efficiency and transient load capacity. FEMSAN has a slotless motor family in the different diameters and qualifications to compensate the customer’s requirements with high power density and torque capacity as well as low volume. Producing slotless BLDC motors with indigenous possibilities was very serious. The greatest gain in production capability has been the creation of a competitive environment. There was no domestic alternative before and therefore the price policies of foreign firms have always been against us. We have already eliminated this situation.

DefenceTurkey: Looking out over the next 20 years, what will be FEMSAN’s main capability/activity focus areas?

Melih Turan İPEKÇİ: There will be very serious changes in the world in 20 years. Everybody has focused on artificial intelligence. Autonomous air, land and naval platforms will be seen more often in the future. We think it would be right to focus on the needs in this area. Our highly reliable electromechanical actuators will be used to drive the various subsystems of unmanned aerial platforms. Our studies are about to finish in this area.

DefenceTurkey: What are your goals for the future of FEMSAN?

Melih Turan İPEKÇİ: FEMSAN aims to continuously pursue its investments in the coming years and to move forward to become one of the leading companies in its profession. Carrying its products and services a step further, moreover, to rise up to the status of “technology producer”