Development of Steel Industry Will Gain Momentum at ITÜ
Sep 29, 2016


Technical University is engaging in another good example of university-industry cooperation. Established at Istanbul Technical University with the initiative of Turkish Steel Exporters’ Association, Steel Test and Research Center (ÇETAM) is expected to play a crucial role in the advancement of Turkey’s steel industry. ÇETAM is supported by Istanbul Development Agency, and along with ITU, Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) and Materials Testing and Innovation Laboratories Inc. (MATIL) will be involved in the project as partners while the Turkish Steel Producers Association and Turkish Steel Pipe Manufacturers Association will be involved as project participants. With the involvement of all parties operating in steel industry, ÇETAM will serve as the home of new ideas.

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What are the goals of ÇETAM?

ÇETAM, based in ITU Ayazaga Campus, primarily aims to help the national steel sector to gain a competitive edge in international markets by providing characterization tests and certification services for products and materials. The aim of these services is to help firms overcome non-tariff technical barriers such as export certification and test requirements, which are frequently encountered problems in steel industry. Removal of such barriers and the Centre’s provision of technical infrastructure support for R&D and innovation work are expected to facilitate an upward trend in steel exports.

The Centre primarily aims to serve steel manufacturers, suppliers, exporters, and importers as well as raw material and semi-material suppliers in steel industry based in Istanbul and its surrounding. Another target group of the Centre is the firms that use steel as derivative. The foremost expectations of Turkish steel industry with the establishment of ÇETAM are the foundation of a centre for tests, analysis, and certification for the steel sector, reduced product development and test costs, increasing the global competitiveness of Turkish steel industry, provision of accreditation and certification for assessment of appropriate sale procedures for steel products, increased service quality in the sector via training of employees, benefitting from university-industry cooperation, and strengthened infrastructure for R&D and innovative activities in the sector.

“ITU is the ideal site for ÇETAM”

Namık Kemal Ekinci, chairperson of Turkish Steel Exporters’ Association, thinks that the Centre will significantly contribute to steel industry. Ekinci stated that during the project phase they explored in detail the multiple parameters of the project and placed a particular emphasis on the service they could obtain from laboratories. Also, Ekinci stressed the importance of involving young people in such a venture that would create high expectations in the sector and explained why they selected ITU as the site for the Centre: “We were looking for an accessible spot that would enable easy access to the conveniences of the city but one that was far from its bustling atmosphere. We contacted several universities, but both because of its location and experience in steel industry, we preferred to establish the Centre at ITU. ITU Rector Prof. Dr. Mehmet Karaca generously supported us and created the fertile conditions that made possible the opening of the Centre.”

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What will be the impact of ÇETAM on the sector?

Construction of ÇETAM was completed after six months of intensive construction process in which the design of the building was undertaken by Turkish Steel Exporters’ Association while ITU took the responsibility for inspection. The location of the building is considered as a great advantage as it allows convenient access to neighboring cities of Istanbul. When ÇETAM was conceived as an idea, the inspiration for the establishment of it as a centre was derived from Certification Authority for Reinforcing Steels (CARES), which is a certification body within United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). Just like CARES in the United Kingdom, ÇETAM was envisaged as a centre that could provide certification services in steel industry in Turkey and realized with the efforts of ITU, project partners, and project participants. To establish itself as an officially and internationally recognized body, ÇETAM will be inspected by UKAS as well. Inspection by CARES, which provides certification services worldwide, particularly in Commonwealth countries, will strengthen the hand of Turkish steel producers in trade relationships with their designated priority markets such as the Middle East and North Africa.

Turkish Exporters Assembly, as the official project partner, aims to publicize ÇETAM and its activities to 63 exporters assemblies. Ekinci states that a team of twenty-five will be working in ÇETAM and they will apply to the Ministry of Science, Industry, and Technology for the Centre to obtain official status.

Ekinci adds that ÇETAM will provide the R&D and innovation support that the steel industry needs, and thereby help Turkey compete at a global scale and under equal conditions with the leading countries of steel industry such as China, Japan, and South Korea.
We believe that ÇETAM project presents a good example of how university and industry can create a big impact when they join forces and it will initiate a new era for ITU and all parties in Turkish steel industry.