As Turkey accepted the European standards and Turkish wagon industry focused on international market, companies faced an important and “expensive” step: Certification and inspection.
They need to prove that they are working in compliance with the international standards such as maintenance and production of rail cars/parts (ECM, IRIS, TSI; UTP), management of safety, accident and change for operators.
A local company with Turkish experts has recently started giving these services: DeTIM. We’ve talked with one of the auditors of DeTIM, Mr Kaan Turkmen about the company and services they are giving.
Where dose the name “DeTIM” come from? What was the idea behind?
DeTIM stands for “Railways Technical Inspection Center” in Turkish.
We provided the first TSI certification and supervision of Alstom’s high speed train maintenance works in Turkey in 2012 where even the National Safety Authority was not established and no certification body was in railway business. With the knowledge and experience we have gained over 7 years, we wanted to provide the quality that the sector deserves, to provide accurate information and to give the oppurtunity to our customers to have a local contact point for their all technical questions and not as a representative.
Based on all these experiences, we set our motto as “High reputation meets quality.”
For which kind of companies are you giving service?
We are currently providing conformity certification of railway infrastructure, signaling systems, TSI, ECM and IRIS, EN 15085 welding certifications of locomotives and wagons, and independent safety assessments (especially for light rail operators and on track machines).
Major infrastructure construction and signaling companies, railway train operators and rolling stock component manufacturers are the companies we serve respectively.
When we include the trainings and tests, defense industry companies, associations and clusters are included in our customer range.
Is your service limited with Turkey?
DeTIM is requested for offers in high demand in the Middle East and Arab countries, especially in Turkic Republics. In addition to the projects we have done in the past, DeTIM has ongoing projects abroad as well.
“DeTIM is getting inquiries from Middle East, Arab countries and Turkic Republics”
Private operators started in Turkey after free access. How can they benefit from your services?
On the other hand, we provide services to railway undertakings such as training, risk management (RAM-S), independent risk assessment, system-subsystem compliance audit, and certification of vehicles purchased from abroad adn 3rd party inspections.
Production of rail cars has developed fast in last years in Turkey. How can you help them?
We provide 3rd party inspection services for locomotives, TSI / UTP certifications for wagons and bogies, EN 15085 welding inspections, independent safety assessment for light rail vehicles and on track machines (CSM AsBo and ISA). This is followed by TSI compliance certificates for components and IRIS certifications.
Many suppliers have developed around these manufacturers. Do you have any service for such compaines?
Yes, we have a big rail industry. We know that there are more than 160 companies registered in clusters. TSI, ECM, IRIS and independent risk assessment services are requested for large scale companies, while ECM, IRIS and EN 15085 services are higher in small and medium sized companies.
“certification projects applied without establishment of corporate management system takes much longer time than planned”
However, the rail industry as a supplier, we recommend that they generally need support firstly in training, as they do not analyze the legislation and standards very well and do not know the certification schemes. We have witnessed many times that the certification projects applied without the establishment of a corporate management system with a competent team and it took much longer than planned and the employees couldn’t pass the audit due to insufficient management system in the relevant technical scopes. Of course, they need to get technical assistance services from the market. However, we also recommend to choose a more competent and technically sufficient experts in railways indeed.
Do the certificates that you give have international validity?
Firstly, the validity areas vary according to the scope of the certificate; for example, while an IRIS or ECM certificate is valid in all EU and OTIF countries subject to this legislation, documents issued by DeBo, or Designated Organizations, are only valid in the country concerned.
However, we know that ERA (European Railway Agency) will remove all national rules in all countries step by step except the national rules accepted due to its geographical, climatic and systemic differences in the coming years and that only harmonized standards will be mandatory. This will save difficulties for producers and certification bodies so that the rules don’t change from country to country and save in time lost and investment.
In fact, starting from June 2020, due to the complexity and long periods of registration of railway vehicles in some countries, ERA will now make the registration for all covered countries by themselves. This is so called “ERA one stop shop”. We believe that such facilities will comfort the manufacturers and operators in the railway sector as long as safety is considered.
Who needs to get which certificates?
This question of course varies according to the type of stakeholders.
Safety Certificate for Railway Undertakings and safety critical personnel safety documents for safety critical persons are compulsory.
The UTP Wag or TSI Wag 321/2013 / EC certificate of conformity is mandatory for a wagon manufacturer. However, the same wagon manufacturer must obtain a TSI certificate of conformity for the required IC (interoperability components) of the wagon to which it will receive certification, including braking system, draw frame hook, coupling, wheel set and bogie. If they are not TSI or UTP certified, the wagon can not have TSI conformity.
There is also a difference between UTP and TSI. UTPs are only mandatory in those countries that are member of OTIF, while TSI is mandatory for EU member states, even in China and Israel TSI is in use. Both directives are equivalent except for minor differences in content. However, most manufacturers do not prefer UTP in Turkey because they are more European oriented, so they prefer TSI certification because it needs the same efforts and costs with the same content. In addition, under the CSM 402/2013 / EC Common Safety Methods directive, manufacturers and maintenance providers are also subject to provide a risk analysis for their changes in design, organization etc. to consider if those pose a risk to the product and railway system. This process should be checked by a CSM Assessment Body (AsBo). But the risk analysis should be prepared by the manufacturer and maintenance service provider itself and not by the AsBo as this point is mostly confusing.
“IRIS has become one of the mandatory documents in TCDD’s tenders”
The IRIS, on the other hand, has become one of the mandatory documents in TCDD’s tender specifications in the meanwhile.
Is ECM certificate a must?
You cannot even work as a maintenance subcontractor without an ECM certificate. Because these certificates require you to set up a system that is manageable and can be traced backwards. In this way, accidents such as the ViaReggio accident in Italy in the past will not repeat. If you recall, in Italy, the freight train carrying dangerous goods have been derailed due to a broke wheelset axle and the accident destroyed almost an entire village. The first ECM directive was born in 2011. Because the maintenance competency and monitoring of the subcontractors was missing (traceability) and not systematically checked.
Is DeTIM the only certification company in Turkey?
Currently the the only railway certification body 100% local auditors in Turkey is us. We don’t need to ask every point to abroad or don’t need to bring a foreign auditor for each inspection. We have a well qualified local experts and auditors pool.
How do you plan do differentiate from others?
Our most important difference is that we are “native”. The turquoise colors in our logo also emphasize indigenousness. Because we are not a “local” company on the paper. There is no overseas company where we pay a large part of the project fees we receive. Our team are really good experts in their fields, so they don’t have to use foreign auditors and experts at every stage of the task. Thanks to our Turkish team, who is competent in technical scopes and legislations, we do a very high quality and safe work, we do not allow mis-information. For us safety is always at first place!
“our most important difference is that we are native”
A significant difference of DeTIM is that we are the only capable company in providing services related to ISA, CSM-AsBo and all TSI contents in Turkey. Our auditor pool covers all contents and we are able to provide services at every stage from independent evaluation of projects to third party supervision and testing due to our competent staff who speak a different foreign languages and have gained many years of technical experience in Europe.
What would be the advantage of working with a local certification company?
Firstly, imagine that there is a company that can manage all Turkish projects from Turkey in their native language and can answer the questions in a very fast way. On the other hang, there are price advantages of being fast, competent and domestic. Because we do not issue an extra bill to the customer for flight tickets, hotel accommodation and the time spent on the way to the audit place.
“we had worked as subcontractors for many foreign certification bodies”
In the past we had worked as subcontractors for many foreign highly reputed certification bodies and have seen how costly and difficult it is to manage projects from abroad. Unfortunately, the customer has to submit their questions to the foreign company first for each technical question they ask. At DeTIM, experts respond directly to the questions themselves within the framework of their competency.
Is your team adequate in terms of size and qualification?
We worked almost for 8 years as subcontractor of many famous and foreign certification bodies. Especially in Europe, it is very difficult to find experts in railway certification units. Even in the largest organizations, it does not exceed 15-20 people in railway inspection/certification unit. In this regard, considering the market size we have established a team of 7 people in Turkey and currently this number is more than enough for all technical fields. Even our youngest specialist has 5 years of experience and our senior has 30 years on international field. Our experts consisting of experiences that they worked in two of the famous high-speed train manufacturing companies, realization of five ECM certifications in Turkey, first TSI certification in 2012 and first independent risk assessment for the Denizli-Dazkırı line and establishment of big-brands logistics companies’ safety management systems. We have a very competent team who worked also as project consultants in the preparation of all Turkish railway legislation.
Furthermore, we give a special care of competency so that each expert receives an average of 144 hours of training per year on international auditing and certification related issues. Moreover, these are not “on paper” training. We aim to keep our quality level at the highest level and our managers do not compromise on the training. Apart from these, we have special NoBo and certification training for all our auditors from Spain, Germany and Austria and we have international rail auditor certificates from the accredited organizations there.
During certification process, tests are needed. How do you handle them?
As you know, Turkey doesn’t have a test center or organization that can actively provide testing servives for railways. Some of the tests are forcibly done in some organizations facilities, but this requires extra auditors because of the lacking 17025 accreditation of the organization involved, and it is more costly and takes longer. That’s why DeTIM has special contracts with test centers in Spain, Germany and Austria. In this way, the customer does not deal with a separate NoBo and a separate Testing Organization or does not wait for months in testing centers for testing. We are able to get our customers in the front of the test rows and they benefit from special prices. In addition, we have special contracted national entities (DeBo) in Germany, Luxembourg and Austria for a faster registration process. We also provide services for those who want to register their wagons abroad via ERA or through these partner DeBos.
Any certification that you’ve given or about to give as DeTIM?
Our team has more than 20 project references before DeTIM. After the establishment of DeTIM we have completed one independent risk assessment for trains and one independent risk management of a 400 km railway line, 2 ECM certifications and a 3rd party Rolling stock production surveillance projects in a such short time.
Are the companies in Turkey able to get these certificates? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
Companies in Turkey are very strong, because they are practice oriented and have a long history of experience. However, they are not systematic, e.g. there are deficiencies in the processes of traceability and documentation. In such certification projects, they start poorly in the first place, but only in the end they succeed with determination and competence. These weaknesses can be transformed into advantages by giving more sectoral trainings and seminars to those companies in these areas.
The biggest weaknesses are not having read the relevant standards and regulations, not having enough training for the employees, not giving much value to the written documentation and urgently trying to finish the projects without prior planning.
“Turkish companies are very strong, practice oriented and experienced, but not systematic”
Strengths; the ability to immediately understand what is described, the ability to take immediate actions for their management system for the deficiencies seen, the ability to complete projects by being patient and ambitious until the end.
Finally, could you give some information about DeTIM Academy?
In fact, we have received many trainings abroad, we have gained experience in technical trips in more than 10 EU countries. We also provide training for 7 years in Turkey. We said why we do not spread and share this experience and knowledge with the sector. Hence, we established DeTIM Academy.
We provide not only trainingw but also Railway Safety Critical Personnel certifications according to the Turkish Safety Management in Railways Directive (until the appointment of accredited training institutions). Apart from these, we have organized trainings and technical trips abroad in more than 10 EU countries for projects of government institutions for best practices. We also offer this experience to our customers who require seminars, trainings and technical trips abroad. Our team is very competent in this sense. For example; Our training instructors who prepare their “Lean Management for Railways” trainings in Turkey has been awarded twice by the Chamber of Mechanical Engineers for his lean management projects in the last 2 years in a row. We can arrange all training programs without any local and geographical restriction on all over Turkey.