Smart Manufacturing in Turkey

Automation & RoboticsIndustrySouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 2/2018

Smart Manufacturing in Turkey

In recent years the Turkish government has been on a road to transforming the country’s economy into a knowledge-based system. The focus in such a concept is on developing smart products with a high added value.

This aim was again confirmed at a conference about Smart Industry and Industry 4.0 developments in the country, organized by the voluntary civil society organization of entrepreneurs and representatives of the business community in Turkey TUSIAD.

According to recent statistics though, the current share of high added value high technology products in its export is only 4%. An emerging economy such as Turkey reasonably believes that Smart Industry implementations and developments would considerably increase the share of high technology products in the total volume of production.

An in-depth study shows potential in four main fields

Together with the Boston Consulting Group, TUSIAD conducted a study on Smart Manufacturing which distinguishes four opportunities for the country in this regard: efficiency, growth, investment and workforce. “With a full application of Industry 4.0 concepts, the Turkish production industry is expected to save up to 50 billion Turkish Lira, whereas efficiency savings are expected to be around 4-7% with an expected productivity growth of between 5-15%”, the study says in relation to the opportunities for increasing efficiency.

As far as growth is concerned, with a full integration of the Turkish economy using Industry 4.0 concepts into the global value chain, Turkey can gain a competitive advantage that can lead up to 3% of yearly additional growth of industrial production, thereby adding 1% to Turkey’s GDP, which translates to about 150-200 billion Turkish Liras in additional revenue, researchers calculated.

For investment to be optimized and for that to happen in the next ten years, yearly investments of about 10-15 billion Turkish Liras (in current prices and based upon current economic growth) need to be made (which amounts to 1 to 1,5 % of manufacturer’s revenue).

This can be a challenge, since Turkish investors generally expect a short return on investment”, the study continues. Experts from TUSIAD and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) also assume that if the abovementioned happens, the structure of the workforce needs to change. Industry 4.0 requires a highly educated workforce, whereas currently vocational education levels are quite low.

The transition of the Turkish industry

Researchers conclude that in order to achieve successful change in the abovementioned fields, Turkey needs to develop a roadmap that will form the basis for the implementation of Smart Industry applications in the Turkish industry. In addition, the country’s workforce needs to be prepared for the requirements of the smart factories.

In February 2016 the Higher Council of Science and Technology (BTYK) decided to establish a coordination unit that will develop a strategic agenda and roadmap for Industry 4.0 in Turkey. “In order to reach perfection in critical and pioneering technologies, in particular regarding smart industry, cyber-physical systems, artificial intelligence, sensors, robot technology, the Internet of Things, big data, cyber security and cloud computing it has been decided to increase R&D efforts in these fields”, Fikri Isik, then Minister of Science, Industry and Technology, said.

BTYK summarized that the transition of the Turkish industry towards increasing the international competitiveness in technology production relies on three main pillars:

- developing an implementation and monitoring model for smart manufacturing in coordination with all stakeholders;

- increasing goal-oriented R&D efforts in critical and pioneering technology areas (cyberphysical systems, artificial intelligence, sensors, robotics, internet of things, big data, cyber security etc.);

- designing support mechanisms for manufacturing infrastructures to develop critical and pioneering technologies.

Key and pioneering technologies in Intelligent Manufacturing Systems

In the light of BTYK’s guidelines, in the second half of 2016 the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey TUBITAK started investigating which are the key and pioneering technologies that serve Intelligent Manufacturing Systems through different thematic studies and events. The research campaign included drawing international and national reports up and reviewing them in order to outline definitions and concepts, technology groups and scopes of intelligent production systems.

As part of the project, a comprehensive questionnaire was applied to approximately one thousand companies that received research and development support from relevant TUBITAK related technologies. Аs a result of the study technology-based national strategic targets, critical products and technologies, R&D issues and sectoral applications were determined; strategic targets, critical products and technologies, R&D issues, technological maturity levels, competence, added value of localization and commercialization potential were audited.

Awareness and trends

The awareness amongst Turkish companies regarding Industry 4.0 developments is relatively low. 22% of the companies have extensive knowledge, 59% has general knowledge and 19% have no knowledge about such developments. Awareness is highest in the electronics, software and materials sector and in general 50% of firms expect to integrate related technologies within 3 to 5 years”, the study conducted by TUBITAK says.

Regarding the level of digital maturity, the Turkish industry is placed between the second and the third industrial revolution and the most mature sectors are the materials sector (rubbers and plastics), computers, electronics and optical devices as well as the automotive and white goods sector, the research shows.

The three technologies that will provide the most added value according to Turkish firms, are automation and control systems, advanced robotic systems as well as additive manufacturing. The expectation is that these technologies will find their ways mostly in the machinery and equipment sector, the computers, electronics and optical devices sector as well as the automotive and white goods sector”, the Technological Research Council stated.

The Turkish Intelligent Manufacturing Systems Technology Roadmap

The focus of TUBITAK’s national call for research proposals topics in the past two years was on advanced manufacturing technologies and the Internet of Things: Additive Manufacturing - Multilayer additive manufacturing, Rapid prototyping and 3D printing technologies, CAD/CAM, simulation and modelling software, Robotics and mechatronics, Flexible manufacturing; Internet of Things - Sensors and sensing systems, Virtualization, M2M communication, Cloud computing, etc.

To help prepare the Turkish industry for the Industry 4.0 transition, TUBITAK has developed a roadmap that is meant to make the adoption and development of Industry 4.0 concepts easier. The roadmap identifies three technology groups – digitalization, connectivity and future factories, as well as 8 critical technologies, 10 strategic targets and 29 critical products to which the Turkish industry should devote its attention to.

Digitalization (with a focus on big data and cloud computing, virtualization and cyber security)

The following targets are being defined:

- Secure, private cloud service platform: develop secure, private, intelligent and scalable cloud service platforms for end devices, algorithms and applications.

- Big data analytics: collect, process, correlate, analyze, report and use in decision support systems.

- Cyber security solutions: develop cyber security solutions Industry 4.0 applications.

- Modeling and simulation: development of modeling and simulation technologies

Connectivity (with a focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor technologies)

The following targets are being defined:

- Industrial IoT platform: Establishment of digital platform of industrial IoT with interoperability, increased security and reliability, and development of software and hardware for industrial endpoint equipment.

- M2X software and equipment: development of data storage technologies suitable for data emerging with reliable and innovative M2X (Machine-Machine, HumanMachine, Machine-Infrastructure) software and/or hardware that will increase the quality and productivity during the product life cycle.

- Innovative sensors: development of industrial, physical, chemical, biological, optical, micro-nano sensors; intelligent actors; industrial, wireless, digital sensor networks; artificial vision, image processing, innovative sensor applications and heavy conditions resistant sensors.

Future factories (with a focus on additive manufacturing, advanced robotic systems and automation & control systems)

The following targets are being defined:

- Robotic, automation, equipment, software and management systems: developing intelligent production robots, equipment and software/management systems that can compete in the international markets in terms of technology and cost, also accessible by SMEs.

- Supplementary manufacturing materials, equipment and software: development of raw materials, production equipment and necessary software and automation systems used in additive manufacturing.

- Intelligent factory systems: development of intelligent factory systems and components and middleware software technologies.

Smart Industry Applications in Turkey

The study “Industry 4.0 in Turkey as an Imperative for Global Competitiveness - An Emerging Market Perspective” by TUSIAD and the BCG outlined the automotive, white goods, textile, chemical, food and beverage, and machinery sectors as leading contributors to the economical development in the country.

The sectors were also examined for opportunities for the implementation on Industry 4.0 projects and applications. Among the opportunities are: the flow of information and materials, integration with suppliers, simulation of the product and production process in the design phase, flexible production, and smart product and production lines that increase predictability, the study showed.

Discussions with industry representatives have shown that awareness of these opportunities is very high and many industrial organizations have already begun to move forward in terms of Industry 4.0 application, even though there are various levels of maturity.

Another important and common finding was the belief that this journey could only succeed if all stakeholders contribute and holistic policies are established. It is imperative that a long-term, comprehensive approach is developed to address the numerous structural limitations Turkey faces, such as the workforce, scale, and investment”, the research paper said.

According to the TUSIAD and BCG experts, all stakeholders have an important role.

Successful Industry 4.0 journey

Industrial organizations and suppliers need to keep up with technologies that are specific to Industry 4.0 and embrace the opportunities in relation to their own business models. Workforce and equipment also need to be adapted to the new paradigm, the study showed.

Important priorities for policy-makers and the public sector, on the other hand, include supporting the development of the nation’s technological infrastructure (e.g., in the area of telecommunications, information, communication) with the requirements of Industry 4.0 in mind, preparing the necessary investment and incentive environment, and, most critically, creating long-term education policies to meet the demand for a skilled workforce”, researchers concluded.

The report also draws attention to the service sector as well, where value chains that develop within the framework of Industry 4.0 are expected to trigger a considerable transformation. “Finance, logistics, and software and system integration, which are production solution partners, are also important areas.

Turkey is a young country with an internalized technology and a growing workforce, on the threshold of an opportunity to achieve a huge transformation that will change its role in the global economy”, the report by TUSIAD and BCG summarizes.

Smart Industry concepts in the Automotive, White goods and Textile sector

According to the study, in the Turkish automotive sector there are many opportunities for implementing Smart Industry applications in different fields, such as: the development of automated and more flexible assembly lines; the development of horizontal data and systems integration can create a shared workspace where manufactures will better cooperate with suppliers; the development of smart warehouses and internal logistics solutions can improve the competitiveness of manufacturers.

In the White goods sector companies may focus in: the development and integration of sensors placed in parts, lines and equipment enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Machine-to-Human (M2H) communication for better communication between systems; more vertical integration of intra-company systems can lead to more efficient production; labor productivity in the field of manufacturing can improve through the application of autonomous transport vehicles and delivery robots.

The Textile sector also allows the development of different Industry 4.0 concepts, including: a greater use of advanced simulation tools for prototype preparation and vertical integration of data between units that develop products through R&D will increase the level of cooperation and will help to develop premium products more quickly; more horizontal integration through ERP solutions with suppliers and customers allow for better competition in the premium value chain; as well as more flexible production through communication (M2M).

Chemicals and Agrofood

Similar to the aforementioned sectors, the Chemicals, Agrofood and Machinery industries in Turkey also create various opportunities for the introduction of Smart Industry technologies, concepts and projects.

In the Chemicals sector researchers outlined the following potential areas for smart technological development: end-to-end data integration in accounting, production and inventory systems can enable small-volume production that can happen faster; an advanced-level analysis of large data sets collected from production lines aiming to conduct R&D can lead to better innovation for new products as well as better production systems and processes; and also smart warehouses and intra-company logistics solutions which can lead to better end-to-end production planning.

The Agrofood industry is another large field with a potential for Industry 4.0 implementations. An advanced analysis of large data sets collected from production, logistics and sales systems can help companies in the sector to better predict market demand.

A horizontal integration with suppliers supported by RFID and sensors can lead to customized nutrition programs, which will decrease the costs of nutrition. Also, a vertical integration of production, sales and logistics can open the way for big data saved in the cloud protected by well-developed security protocols. Logical analysis of such data can improve capacity, real-time performance tracking and reporting, the industry report stated.


According to TUSIAD and the Boston Consulting Group, advanced simulations used in the production of prototypes and test systems will decrease product development and mold design. R&D, design and production units working more integrated, in a virtual environment can decrease product development and reduce outage due to quality control.

Automation of production lines utilizing CNC and mold casting can shorten the time of configuration and delivery and increase utilization of capacity. It can improve health and safety for workers involved in hazardous tasks. Integrated big data analysis in CRM systems can improve pre- and after-sales services. Embedded sensors can open the way for remote troubleshooting as an after-sales service thereby reducing warranty costs”, the market analysis showed.

Other fields that hold nearly endless opportunities in this regard are simulation and augmented reality which can be used to improve factory and warehouse design as well as smart inventory management. Orders prepared with the use of laser-guided autonomous vehicles and optical collection systems can improve delivery time and improve workforce efficiency as well as ergonomics, the paper concluded.

Sources: Boston Consultng Group,

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, TUBITAK, TUSIAD