We are on the cover of Valve World Magazine’s annual purchasing report, one of the world’s most prestigious valve magazine. You can read our interview also by the below.
SMS TORK | Turkish with a global reach
SMS TORK is a well-known name in Turkey for manufacturing solenoid valves, actuators and distributing flow control equipment under its brand name TORK. The company also is very active in other markets such as Europe, Russia, Asia, America and the Middle East.
Ömer Kaya, mechatronic engineer and sales/marketing manager at SMS TORK, is an exponent of the second generation of Kaya’s at the company. “My father founded SMS TORK at the beginning of the eighties. Initially, he acted as an importer and distributor of technical products, valves, actuators and so on. Gradually, my father received more requests for domestically manufactured equipment which would be able to compete in price with western goods. In 1985 he decided to manufacture his first pneumatic actuator for a Turkish chocolate company. This case opened doors to other Turkish manufacturers that were willing to acquire domestic equipment. Gradually he expanded his portfolio to solenoid valves, dust collectors for filter systems and pneumatic operated angle seat valves. He also expanded his distribution business for western suppliers of flow control equipment and temperature/pressure sensors. In general, our customers prefer to deal with one contact for a great part of their equipment.”
Quality made in Turkey
On its website, SMS TORK says it is the first producer of solenoid valves, pneumatic actuators, pneumatic actuated angle seat valves, pulse valves and electric actuators in Turkey. The company, which is situated in Istanbul, has an impressive manufacturing facility spanning 4000 square meters. SMS TORKprides itself by developing and manufacturing 100 percent Turkish equipment and parts for its TORK-brand.
“Quality made in Turkey” is our motto”, Kaya says. “Many of our Turkish competitor source cheaper parts from abroad. We stay clear from these practices as our production and products need to be certified against the latest standards (bsi ISO9001: 2008, bsi CE, UL, SIL3, NSF, ATEX, bsi TS 16949, bsi OHSAS180001. ISO140001, Rosh, GOST(EAC), UKSERPO, TSE,”
Dominant in the manufacturing industry
Fast forward more than 30 years and SMS TORK has cornered roughly 50 percent of the Control valves market in Turkey and has become a household name for solenoid valves and actuators (both electric and pneumatic) in its home market. According to Kaya, the company’s success has been attributable to its market approach. “Of course we have competitors in Turkey but these companies are predominantly focussed on valves and actuators for HVAC, water, and domestic use. Our markets are mainly in manufacturing: chemicals, food and beverage, paints and coatings and so on. With the acquisition of Varnasan, a producer of ball valves, we also want to move into oil and gas.”
As Kaya states, SMS Tork is difficult to ignore in its home market, especially in the industrial and OEM sectors. However, in the export market, the Turkish company has many foreign competitors.
Quality and reliability
“True”, Kaya says, “nevertheless we have ventured with success in these markets. We are exporting to 87 countries. Europe, representing roughly 50 percent of our export value, is important for us. In Germany, for example, we have established our own office in order to serve our customers better with people on the ground, so to speak. Russia is also a very good market for us. It speaks for itself that the Middle East, due to our proximity to this market, is doing well. We expect more business to come out of this region because of our move into oil and gas.”
Quality, reliability and fast delivery time are main selling points for SMS TORK in the export market (and of course also in Turkey, ed.), Kaya explains. “We are able to deliver quality against competitive price levels. Of course we are not the only company claiming this, but we have been operating by this maxim for 30 years and apparently, our customers are satisfied with our performance.”
SMS TORK is truly a family business. As mentioned before in this article, Kaya’s father founded the company. At the moment, his father, Omer and his two siblings are active in SMS TORK. “We complement each other. My father is an engineer at heart but not necessarily proficient in economics, so my brother who is graduated from economic care about the financial organization of the company. My background is in engineering but in SMS TORK has been active in sales/marketing for our export markets. The family aspect is important but we have grown in size over the years. Now we employ over 140 people and – of course- these are not all family”, Omer smiles. “For our family, it is important that the company is bigger than the family and that we should ensure the continuity of SMS TORK for the future.”
Testing before delivery
Omer mentions a customer satisfaction of over 95 percent. This is an impressive figure but he also a bit wary about this percentage. “Some customers don’t take sufficient time in filling in questionnaires. They just want the product and use it without problems. That’s why the number of customer complaints is more telling. For the number of years I have been working for SMS TORK, there have two or three on average each year. From the 250,000 piece coils we manufacture on average 2-3 pieces being returned. This statistic is more important because it shows we can deliver quality. Testing before delivery is a key asset of our company as we conduct various checks, leakage, coils et cetera. We also are communicating to our customers as to how to install and employ our products. This procedure also contributes to a longer lifespan and problem-free use.”
Turbo solenoid, Cryogenic solenoid valves, NSF certificated solenoid valve for drinking water, refrigeration solenoid valves, proportional solenoid valves, scotch yoke pneumatic rotary actuators are new TORK products in 2017 developed by our R&D office.
As Kaya has stated, SMS TORK also is investing in innovation to improve the performance of its products. Given its dominant position in solenoids, the company has developed a so-called turbo solenoid valve. “Solenoids are in use in a variety of industrial and domestic applications. In such this wide range two issues have gained importance: energy efficiency and self-sufficiency. In the industry, hundreds of solenoids may be used in one plant only, mostly out of sight and out of mind. In this situation, energy transfer and failure notices of these out of sight valves are the main problems of the users.”
SMS TORK has developed and tested a turbine which generates electricity to control the solenoid valve. A battery system ensures a continuous supply of energy in case the turbine is not generating sufficient power. “In short, this system is designed to make solenoids more reliable and decrease the use of energy. A win-win situation.”
Besides being able to compete on price/quality, SMS TORK also is investing in product and process innovation. One example is being mentioned in box text Turbo solenoid. Automation/ digitalization is also high on the agenda of the company. “We have launched a smart switch box device which an ability to measure and communicate parameters such as temperature, inner pressure, cycle time, partial stroke test within the actuator. It also enables controlling the actuator from a distance via a hand-held device such as a laptop or a mobile phone. The role of data management in the processing industry will only increase as it facilitates concepts such as predictive maintenance which ideally leads to less downtime. At the moment, there are products/solutions on the market but these are quite expensive. We want to make our solutions accessible/affordable for companies that don’t have enormous budgets for automation.”
Future is electric
With the advent of digitalization, SMS TORK also expects that electric actuation will be a driving force behind the global actuation market. Pneumatic actuation will not disappear as there will always be a need for this type.
Mr. Kaya states that SMS TORK’s R&D department has developed a whole range of new products in 2017: turbo solenoid, cryogenic solenoid valves, NSF certificated solenoid valves for drinking water, refrigeration solenoid valves, proportional solenoid valves and scotch yoke pneumatic rotary actuators.
Given its dominant position in sole- noids, the company has developed
a so-called turbo solenoid valve. “Solenoids are used in a variety of industrial and domestic applications. In such a wide range two issues have gained importance: energy efficiency and self-sufficiency. In the industry, hundreds of solenoids may be used in one plant alone, mostly out of sight and out of mind. In this situation energy transfer and failure notices of these out of sight valves are the main problems of the users.”
SMS TORK has developed and tested a turbine which generates electricity to control the solenoid valve. A battery system ensures a continuous supply of energy in the event the turbine is not generating sufficient power. “In short, this system is designed to make sole- noids more reliable and decrease the use of energy. A win-win situation.”
For example when fast response times (one or two seconds to shut down, ed.) are needed or when cost is an overriding factor. Electric actuators, on the other hand, can be operated and monitored with greater precision and generate zero emissions, which is not the case with pneumatic actuators.
“We are working hard now to improve our quarter-turn electrical actuators and will do the same in the near future with our multi-turn actuators. We see sufficient room for improvement in the mechanical design of the actuator and some of its individual parts such as the gears. Other aspects which we are going to improve are the reliability of the electronics and energy consumption (see box Turbo solenoid).”
Process optimization is also a big issue for SMS TORK, Kaya says. The company is working to streamline its supply chain, according to Kaya quite a challenge for a Turkish company. “The culture in Turkey that goods are ordered on Sunday and delivered the next week. In other words, every order is important in the eye of the company. However, we also need to manage our inventory responsibly. If we can reduce our inventory to 50 percent, we can use these funds for our R&D. Since 2014we have adopted IFS, ERP-type software which enables to tackle this issue. Of course, we don’t want to abandon our service levels. We are in business to bring solutions to the market in a timely fashion, not to ruthlessly cut into our stocks.”
When asked about the near future for SMS TORK, Kaya says the company intends to further build and strengthen its core brand on the world stage. “My father wanted to establish a Turkish with a global reach. As a son of a miner, he created SMS TORKout of nothing so I have great respect and admiration for him. As said before, SMS TORK has thrived in almost 3,5 decade and has expanded its business from Turkey to the world. However, it is not our nature to rest upon our laurels but to continuously improve our products and manufacturing practices. We also see a more active role in the after sales trajectory in which we can assist our customers. As I mentioned before, communication with end users is important to maintain the quality of our products in operation and subsequently reduce additional costs. We will also engage in maintenance with our team in Turkey next year. If this initiative goes well, we could transfer this concept to other markets.”