Ali Acur is a Turkish entrepreneur who challenged the norm that big industries like airways, railways and energy generation can only be operated by big conglomerates. Using his experience as mechanical preventive maintenance engineer at Airbus Germany, he founded his own startup (Delphisonic) to provide innovative solutions that can “increase equipment lifetime, reduce maintenance costs and time, increase machine safety, and eventually save lives,” Acur told Wamda, a platform of integrated programmes that aims to accelerate entrepreneurship ecosystems throughout the MENA region. Its core focus includes media, community development, research, corporate, and government advisory services.
The system created by Acur and his team consists of connected sensors, a connectivity device, and software. The sensors are responsible for collecting data of different types such as vibration, speed, pressure and temperature. They, later on, transmit this data to the software system which analyses the information and produces reports of predictive maintenance. “While Delphisonic system cannot detect the exact problem, it alerts the company that a problem is going to happen soon,” said Acur. Based on his experience in the aviation industry, he believes that companies nowadays are willing to invest in predictive maintenance.
We are a team of 11, I am the founder but I also work as a sales representative. Hiring more people will help me focus on our core business, expand to other countries and other sectors such as oil and gas.Ali Acur
Like most innovative startups, Delphisonic faced enormous challenges in proving the viability and potential of its predictive maintenance system. In 2013, after preparing the prototype, Acur approached the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) to connect Adana Mersin railway-line with his system in a promise to decrease maintenance costs. Acur mentioned that after trying the system, the TCDD was at the top of Delphisonic’s client list, which includes other companies in Turkey (freight company U.N RO.RO), in the US (National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak), in Germany (national rail company DB Bahn), and in Switzerland (SBB cargo).
Acur has formulated a few strategies which he believes will help promoting Delphisonic on international platforms. First, his product is provided on software as a service basis with no upfront charge, but with a minimum contract period of 24 months. During this period, Delphisonic maintains and repairs its system every six months, and provides detailed reporting and resolution services on a monthly basis. Second, the cost of utilising the system is measures to be effective for the industry using it. “A railway predictive maintenance system for one locomotive costs around USD 60,000 per machine, which is a low cost product when it comes to such big industries,” Acur said.
The market is full of potential and having a faster and bigger production line will help us cater for a bigger number of clients and expand our reach.Ali Acur
The thirst strategy is to partner with the big players in the industry. For instance, Delphisonic has partnerships with GE Turkey to connect its system to GE’s Predix, the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) platform, and also with Microsoft to connect to Azure. These partnerships will not only help Delphisonic in the local market, but also will enable its system to reach other countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, Europe and North America. The most important strategy, on which every startup relies, is attracting investors whose contributions will push production forward, and therefore more clients will use the system with benefits reaching all stakeholders.