In 2006, Turkey-based conglomerate KIPAŞ Holding established KÇS Kipaş Çimento in Kahramanmaras to focus on cement and clinker production. It purchased Epiroc drill rigs when setting up operations, and work was soon underway at a quarry site roughly halfway between Kahramanmaras and the city of Gaziantep. This marked the start of a close relationship between the two firms, with KÇS enjoying a period of rapid growth.
When it was time for KÇS to expand operations further, it purchased newer Epiroc units while continuing to run the older models with the help of regular servicing from Epiroc’s Adana office. Mining & Construction Magazine sat down with KÇS Cement Maintenance Chief Mustafa Yilmaz and Epiroc Tools & Attachments & Surface division Sales Engineer Erman Çeliker to discuss their working partnership.
How did the relationship between KÇS and Epiroc begin?
Mustafa Yilmaz: “When we first decided to invest in the cement factory in 2006, we did research [on drill rigs] first. As a result of this research, we decided on Epiroc. It had the strongest references from our peer companies that had used its equipment and had good experiences with it. We considered the efficiency of the product range, the availability of spare parts, and the speed of service.”
Erman Çeliker: “When I started as a sales engineer in this region and met Mustafa, the relationship between Epiroc and KÇS was already highly cooperative. KÇS has had two ECM580 units for over 10 years, and now the company has two newer PowerROC T35 units, the most recent of which it bought last year. We have a dealer in Adana, Turkey, with whom Mustafa is in close contact and who provides services focused on efficiency
and low costs. KÇS is our biggest customer in the region and our biggest reference for the PowerROC series.”
Are there any particular challenges posed by the operations at KÇS’s quarry site?
MY: We can come across very tough ground here as well as different ores and variable rock formations, some of which are extremely hard. These changing geological formations are not always easy to deal with.
EÇ: “The rock formations are not homogeneous here. KÇS can face soft rocks when drilling and then, right afterwards, much harder rocks. The technology of our rigs helps keep the consumables safe when this is the case and also provides good costs per meter drilled.”
KÇS is using both older and more recent models of Epiroc equipment. How do they compare, and how do you keep the older models running smoothly?
MY: "The newer ones have more capacity and are faster. That’s the main reason we prefer them. They are also more fuel efficient. These are advantages when drilling on the different kinds of ground we have at the site.”
EÇ: What is most gratifying is that KÇS has continued to work with us [on the older models]. They use original spare parts, and they call our original servicing. It’s like having a 15-year-old Mercedes and going to the official dealer to get it serviced – it’s that kind of loyalty.”
MY: “There are some key components [to those rigs], and we always prefer buying the original parts. One of the machines that we bought in 2006 has 45 000 engine hours. And it still runs like new because of servicing from Epiroc’s service center and use of original parts."
EÇ: “One of the reasons for the upgrade is that Epiroc has come up with new technologies, like the COP Logic system and the COP SC19 series rock drill, which are extremely efficient and help the most important part of the drilling process move faster. The anti-jamming system also helps ensure the safety of the drilling process and the consumables.”
How important are servicing and spare parts arrangements, and what do those arrangements look like from each side?
MY: “Epiroc has been very fast in meeting our needs because Adana and Kahramanmaras are very close to each other, so they are able to get to
us quickly. [If we need anything,] our marketing department contacts the Adana office, and things start from there with the service provided very soon after that. We are very satisfied with that service.”
EÇ: “Service accessibility, speed of service and speed of response when supplying spare parts are our main points of focus. Because of them, KÇS can still use those Epiroc rigs that are older. When it comes to supplying the spare parts, they are shipped from Örebro, Sweden, to our Ankara warehouse, and from there we distribute them to Adana and elsewhere and then on to our customers."
KÇS is continuing to expand and is planning for further growth. How do you see the relationship between the two firms developing in future?
MY: “We are continuously investing in new projects. We are closely watching the market (for cement), and we expect more growth to come here and in the Middle East. So, we are planning to buy new quarries, even in Adana, and planning to invest more. When we open new quarries, we will need more equipment, and of course we will work with Epiroc to supply that.”
EÇ: “Looking to the future, the digitalization of the drilling processes here is still in progress, and KÇS is willing to upgrade its systems. When it does, we will be in close contact and continue to maintain the good relationship we have built.”
KÇS KIPAŞ ÇIMENTO in Kahramanmaras is a subsidiary of Turkeybased conglomerate KIPAŞ Holding. It began cement and clinker production in 2008 and quickly became one of Turkey’s leading cement producers. KÇS now has an annual production capacity of 3 200 000 metric tons of clinker and 4 000 000 metric tons of cement and is continuing to grow and invest in order to pursue new opportunities in the construction materials sector.
• Approximately 1 000 employees
• Founded in 2006
• Operates 15 concrete plants across seven different Turkish provinces