A new high-tech development and design center established in Turkey’s central province of Konya will provide a “perfect infrastructure” in projects to be developed for the use of smart technologies in agricultural machinery, a statement said.
The center was established at Karatay University in cooperation with the EU and Turkish Industry and Technology Ministry.
“The center will also contribute to increase the R&D (research and development) capacity of SMEs [small- and medium-sized enterprises] for smart technologies by carrying out joint R&D projects with SMEs for smart agricultural machines and organizing special training programs for needs,” according to the website of the ministry’s Competitive Sectors Program.
Competitive Sectors Program, aiming to increase productivity, accelerate industrialization and develop a competitive production structure for export, is an umbrella program under the financial cooperation between the EU and Turkey.
Konya makes 65% of agricultural machinery and its exports account for some 45% approximately.
The province mainly produce conventional agricultural machinery, but Precision Agriculture, which started to be pronounced in the late 90s, and Agriculture 4.0 platforms that have emerged in the last few years, started a transformation in the agricultural machinery field.
“New generation agricultural machines can work with much higher efficiency, therefore, it has become a necessity for the producers in the region to keep up with this transformation in order to maintain their competitiveness, especially on a global scale,” the website said.
A detailed demand analysis conducted by Karatay University identified shortcomings in the sector’s transition to smart technologies, such as lack of qualified staff, insufficient R&D capacity and inadequacy at the university-industry cooperation level.
With the intention of answering all these problems, the Smart Technologies Design, Development and Prototyping Center Project was developed, the website noted.
The project qualified for €5 million ($6 million) in funds from the EU.
While 80.16% of this project has been funded by the EU, the rest of the amount was provided by the Turkish Industry and Technology Ministry, as part of Competitive Sectors Program.
The center’s long-term target is to provide a transformation in the smart technologies field for the agricultural machinery manufacturers in the region.
The center will have high-tech devices – prototyping, validating and testing – and qualified personnel.
“Electronic and mechanical high-tech prototyping devices, precision measuring devices and sensitive sensors that will enable tests in field conditions will be used in the center for the benefit of SMEs,” the Competitive Sectors Program said.
The center aims to obtain patents through joint projects on national and global scales.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Project Manager Baris Samim Nesimioglu said: “I can divide the core capabilities of our center into prototyping and validation-testing. Here, I can further divide our prototyping capabilities into two subcategories: mechanical and electronics.”
The center has 3D printers that can produce both plastic and metal prints that have the same mechanical properties as the real ones.
In terms of electronic prototyping, the center has all the devices in the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) line and can make all electronic printed circuits from idea to prototype.
On the validation-testing side, the center has precision measuring devices such as a 50 GHz frequency signal-spectrum analyzer and a vector network analyzer, and an echo-free – or anechoic – chamber for conducting electromagnetic compatibility tests of electronic-based equipment.
He said the university will also contribute to the center with almost €1 million funds ($1.18 million) and the center will interact with the university’s faculties.
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