Interview with Sirri Yircali, Deputy Chairman of BEST Transformer Board of Directors
BEST was established in 1966 and only a half a century later, the company has grown into one of the largest independent transformer manufacturers in Europe.
The production of first transformers began in 1969, and ever since, we have steadily increased the production quality and capacity.
Looking at our history, there were three phases in the development of the company. In the 1980s, the focus was on expanding our production know-how, and this was the time when BEST raised a great number of skilled workers and engineers. In the 1990s and early 2000s, we laid the groundwork to turn BEST into a major exporter. During this period the company obtained ISO certifications and had our first 154 kV transformers, and later our first 380 kV units, successfully short-circuit tested.
All these years of experience, as well as our trust in the transformer market, prompted us to expand and we opened a new factory in Balikesir Organized Industrial Zone (OSB) in 2009. This was the time immediately after the market crash of 2008 and just before a downturn on the energy market globally, so it could be considered an unfortunate time to start a new factory, particularly bearing in mind that most other manufacturers were forced to stop investing and some even to close their factories. But with our new facility just opened, there was no room for thinking about downsizing. We wanted to expand to higher voltage levels, greater ratings and to special transformers. Our new facilities allowed us to realize these goals confidently. Since then, we have expanded our core cutting facility and our coil winding facility. In 2016, we opened a new dedicated dry-type transformer factory also in Balikesir OSB. As of 2017, we have reached a combined total production capacity of 50,000 MVA in both our factories in Balikesir. From this figure, oil-type distribution transformers account for 6,500 MVA and dry-type for 3,000 MVA. Power and industrial transformers naturally account for the largest portion of our production. We can manufacture and test the transformers up to 1,000 MVA and 750 kV.