A multifaceted manufacturer of machinery and equipment, the company primarily builds custom bodies for dumptrucks but has also begun to manufacture salt-spreading equipment, water tankers and scrap trailers. Founded in Soma, Turkey, in 1981, Arslan Damper has production at a 35,000-square-meter factory in Aliağa Izmir on the western coast of Turkey.
The company holds a strong market position in the Aegean region in dumptruck bodies and trailers and is also a supplier to the State Supply Office, Turkey’s main government procurement agency, which has awarded roughly 250 contracts each year to the company.
General Manager Engin Arslan says, “We have approved contracts with companies that manufacture chassis, including Ford Otosan, Mercedes Benz, Man, Temsa Mitsubishi and Otokar. These brands are sold both domestically and abroad.”
Because Arslan Damper manufactures custom dumper bodies and not standard ones, direct communication with the customer is a key aspect of their business. In 2015 they filled 710 special orders, and in 2016 they exceeded their goal of 750 bodies.
“In our business, the materials being hauled by the customer are critical. The hardness of the material, the weight per cubic meter, the distance the materials will be transported, and how many trips the vehicle make per day are all criteria we take into account during the manufacture. Our aim is to find out this information and manufacture the product accordingly,” Arslan says.
Worksite conditions play a key role in determining the level of quality needed, and the choice of materials is critical to quality production. The company carefully selects the raw materials used and always keeps inventory on hand to meet product delivery deadlines. Arslan explains that it’s important for them to work in the most organized way possible to meet their daily goal of starting and completing three dumper bodies each day. “Working this way makes it possible for us to satisfy our customers’ needs and acquire large jobs. We don’t want the customer to lose money because they are waiting around,” he points out.
The company has created a defect tracking system that records feedback from customers in order to improve the customer experience and to be able to review the equipment or materials used. Product development is then conducted based on this feedback. Arslan says, “We are one of the top two companies in our class in Turkey. We pride ourselves on doing custom manufacturing and tracking every single product we make. And we have service points throughout the country.”
Arslan Damper has a different approach to service that many of its peers in the region. The company has on-site intervention contracts, mainly with hydraulic system suppliers, for parts that they use, and they work with companies that have an extensive service network.
A preventive, personalized approach to service
The company is currently working on adopting lean manufacturing, and it operates according to a simple principle: Don’t deliver or receive defective materials. Once a week, the engineers and foremen gather to examine the finished product, and identify and note defects so that they can prevent them. The companies they do business with have different kinds of requests for service. “When companies that have our vehicles request service from us, we send out a team,” he says. “The team prepares a materials list and gives it to the company. When it is approved, we send a team of electricians and hydraulic experts to do all of the maintenance on the vehicles.”
In addition to bodies and trailers, Arslan Damper manufactures hook lifts, which use both Hardox® and Strenx® steels from SSAB. Because these steels are lightweight yet sturdy, they make a good fit for hook-lift production. The company also uses 3-millimeter Hardox® wear plate in the containers they manufacture for the hook lifts.
Hardox® wear plate also makes an appearance in many other products Arslan Damper produces – from sanitary equipment to snowplows and scrap trailers. The 54-cubic-meter scrap trailers made with Hardox® are traditional 14-tonne trailers but can be manufactured to weigh 10.5 tonnes with a capacity of 40 cubic meters.
Arslan explains that they have worked with SSAB ever since Hardox® wear plates were introduced to Turkey and that they have never been let down by SSAB’s commitment to quality products and support. Arslan says, “We use both Hardox® and Strenx® steels and haven’t had any complaints from our customers yet. For us, this is an important benchmark – we have large-volume production and we’ve got to avoid getting complaints from customers.”
Arslan Damper has used Hardox® 450 in thicknesses ranging from 4 mm to 12 mm, and prefers Strenx® 700MC up to 5 mm. In addition to buying steel from SSAB, the company receives technical support for some of its products. “One of the important things for us is being able to procure the raw materials we need immediately,” he says. “In this regard we have confidence in SSAB, and so far we have always been able to obtain materials when we need them.”