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is bound to fall off next year." It is at times like this, he admits, that he is glad he took his company into a diversifi ed group: an independent producer might not have the resources to survive this downturn. Önder intends to be around to take advantage of new opportunities once the economic climate improves. He is very excited by the potential for the solar energy market in Turkey and is convinced that it will be the next big thing. " I already have fi ve project engineers working on this; we have visited lots of companies, and we're working out the best way to invest in photovoltaic solar panels. After all, Turkey has the ideal conditions for solar power generation. Although it's in its infancy at present and will only grow slowly at fi rst, I am convinced it will start to boom in two or three years' time and that it will be a very good investment." In this he is very much on the same page as his parent group Sanko, which has already made investments in wind and hydro power generation. However, his research team is taking a cautious approach. " Solar panel technology is developing very quickly. Everything is in place now, but we will probably not make any investment this year beyond importing product, maybe from Suntech, which is one of the market leaders in China, and doing some project contracting." Of course, solar energy is a core business for Airfel. In a hot climate, air cooling is required when the sun is out, so the two go hand in hand. But the appliances need to be adapted; low- power compressors need to be developed, as well as specialised controls to make effi cient use of solar energy. A large part of Airfel's R& D capacity is currently devoted to solving these problems and developing new-generation products in time for the boom in the market. Airfel is a young, aggressive, dynamic and very professional player in the market, with a very strong emphasis on engineering, product development and innovation. " We do have competitors, but most of them are involved in other business and not focused, as we are, on heating and cooling technology. And we are defi nitely the only manufacturer with its entire shareholding located here in Turkey, with more than 600 dealers and service centers throughout the country covering the whole territory." Airfel also represents many famous global brands such as MHI, McQuay and Hoval exclusively in the Turkish market. Önder is leading his company successfully in this challenging sector where many brands are competing for better market share, but he believes that challenges create opportunities, and he sets the strategies and puts sound processes in place at the right time. His greatest asset, Önder concludes, is his team of 68 highly qualifi ed and specialised mechanical engineers and his dedicated 380- strong workforce. - Editorial research by Alan Lowe China, we don't plan to move production there because our logistics base in Turkey is so good. We use Japanese-based production systems, such as 5S and continuous improvement, and are introducing six sigma, which will be rolled out in all our factories by the end of this year." In addition, two years ago Airfel implemented an Oracle database in all its operations, and now uses it to manage materials, production management and service. Airfel's boiler factory is also at Hendek. With an annual capacity of 300,000 units, half the total Turkish market, most of its production is sold locally, with some going to former Soviet states such as Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. However, this is a rapidly changing market. Environmental legislation already makes it impossible to sell traditionally vented central heating boilers in the UK, and the rest of the EU is expected to follow soon in insisting on low- emission condensing boilers. " We will start producing condensing boilers by the end of this year and will eventually make them exclusively," Önder says. Air conditioning and commercial cooling systems from the company's Tekirdag plant west of Istanbul normally bring in the greatest portion of Airfel's ? 115 million annual turnover, though in 2008 this business was outstripped by the innovative Mitsubishi FRS chiller systems supplied by Airfel to food industry clients throughout Turkey. Both these businesses are holding up well as the recession deepens, but Önder does expect a decline after the end of 2009, as projects already in construction are completed. " Air conditioning is one of the last things people install, but not much new construction is taking place just now, so demand Airfel Isitma June 09 www. bus- ex. com 65 Airfel and Hoval are two companies sharing similar values, matching perfectly with the engineered systems division. Together we are able to provide customers with highly effi cient and environmentally friendly heating systems that give an economical and ecological benefi t to the end user. This means we focus on future technology, especially gas condensing boilers, with the Hoval UltraGas as the trend- setter. Hoval