Case study ELITE ROBOTS: Market launch (Turkey) with the help of a good partner
The well-funded Chinese start-up has already sold over 10,000 cobots. The company is increasingly focusing on the European market. It is already well represented in Portugal, Italy and recently also in Turkey. Partners are still being sought for Germany(link). This article was written in paid partnership with ELITE ROBOT.
The Turkish market is growing strongly
The Turkish Industrial Automation Association expects an annual growth rate of at least 10 % for robotics. It should be noted that, unlike Germany, Turkey does not have such serious demographic problems. Accordingly, the market volume is expected to rise from US$ 1.6 billion in 2020 to US$ 2.5 billion in 2025. The growth is all the more remarkable given that the Turkish monthly wage already starts at $500. Still, the payback is compelling. Today, there are only 30 robots per 10,000 workers in Turkey, 371 in Germany and 932 in South Korea.
Interview with long-standing automation specialist and new ELITE ROBOT partner
Sedat Atalay distributes for the Turkish company Otes Elektronik San. ve Tic. Ltd. Şti. ELITE ROBOT. ELITE ROBOT is the partner of this article. Turkey has risen to become a technology hub in recent decades. Back in 2003, the Turkish electrical company Beko took over the brand rights to Grundig and since then appliances from the traditional German brand have been on the rise in Turkey. In recent years, the next step was the development of high technology. Without the use of Turkish Bayraktar drones, Ukraine would not be nearly as successful in its resistance against Russia.
From this, one can deduce that Turkish companies are very demanding and constantly want to improve. This is a parallel to the German-speaking world. Through the mediation of ELITE ROBOT, I was able to ask Mr. Atalay for an interview. His first feedback was that he is very satisfied with the quality of the ELITE ROBOT cobots. According to his customers, the robots are easy to operate and programming is quick compared to some European brands. Interesting for potential ELITE ROBOT distributors: an exchange of information with ELITE ROBOT would be good, as would support. The Chinese startup is looking for partners for the DACH region.
Mr Atalay, could you please briefly introduce your company and also tell us if you sold other robots before ELITE ROBOT.
Our company was founded in 1997 to supply parts to manufacturing companies. Our main products were PLCs, HMIs and motor drives. To date, we have done system integration in addition to selling products. We have used some industrial robots from other manufacturers in the projects. But we did not only sell robots to integrators. Then we decided to start selling collaborative robots. After talking to different manufacturers around the world, we decided to work with ELITE ROBOT. Now our core business is robotics and ELITE ROBOTS is one of our main products.
ELITE ROBOT has two Cobot series in its portfolio, do you sell both model series?
We are currently focusing on the EC series and have already sold 14 cobots (mainly EC612) in a short time. We are waiting for the launch of the new series, the CS series.
Who are ELITE ROBOT's typical customers (company size/industry) and what tasks do the cobots have to do? Are the cobots used rather sporadically or are they in continuous use?
I don't think we can narrow down the typical customers in terms of size. ELITE ROBOT's quality and price level fits all industry segments. Small and medium-sized companies prefer us because of our price level, but of course with good quality. On the other hand, big companies generally think that old brands are more reliable and good for 7/24 production. But when they test our cobots and see the quality and price level, I think they will prefer us. We need some time for the brand to be accepted in the Turkish market. It's a long way for us and we are very interested in competing against the big companies.
What are the typical reasons for customers to buy. Is it just the price or more?
Price is important, of course, but it is not the first priority for customers. Customers need to see that the brand has been on the market for a long time, that the cobots always run without problems. I think the most important part of the purchase is the support after the purchase. If the supplier is known in the market and has been in business for a long time, then that is a good chance to sell the product. Then, if the price of the product is also right, the customer will go for it.
What is the typical process? How long does it take for the cobot to reach the customer if there are delivery problems. Do you integrate or does the customer?
The delivery time is currently about 10 weeks and this duration is acceptable. To shorten this delivery time, we are considering keeping several cobots in stock. This way we can deliver them immediately. This gives us a good chance against competitors with long delivery times. But I have to say that we can deliver by air freight in 4 weeks if the customer wants it earlier.
Our ultimate goal is to supply cobots to integrators or end users who will do their integrations. But we will do integrations in the beginning until the ELITE brand is known and then stop integrations.
What experiences have you had with accessories such as grippers or peripherals? Does everything work smoothly together, do you see differences to other brands? Do your customers prefer European accessories or do they choose Chinese accessories, which in turn reduces the overall investment?
Yes, we work with a gripper manufacturer and a 3D vision manufacturer. Together with these accessories, we are able to supply the most important parts to complete a robot system. This is also beneficial for our customers as they get all the parts they need from one supplier.
Are the cobots flexible enough to adapt to other requirements, to be reprogrammed?
Yes, they are indeed very flexible. It can be used in many different applications in different industries. It is very well designed and meets the customer requirements. One of the customers says that ELITE ROBOT is very easy to use and they completed the first application within a day, which is amazing. If they were to use other brands, it would take about 3-5 days.
Is there anything you miss about the cobots?
Not so much. But it would be good to have a version with an integrated camera. Apart from that, everything is fine.
Mr Atalay, thank you for the interview.