The Turkish carpet industry invests in French machinery

GAZIANTEP, 06-12-2008

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The production of traditional and modern style carpets in the fast growing Turkish city of Gaziantep is about 300 millions square meters in 2008. The process includes state of the art spinning and weaving machines, much of them from France.

Gaziantep, the Turkish cluster for carpet manufacturing
Turkey has a long tradition of carpet craftsmanship. In the South-East of the country, a little more than one hour fly from Istanbul, close to the Syrian border, a 1 million people city, Gaziantep, has grown to become the capital of the machine made carpet industry. Modern housing and manufacturing plants are built at such a speed that the city looks really different every few months.
The textile industry and particularly the carpet manufacturing are responsible for a good part of this exceptional growth explains I.Yalçin Konukoglu, the President of the Gaziantep carpet makers Association. He explains “in Gaziantep and its close vicinity, there are 189 carpet mills which employ directly or indirectly more than 30 000 employees. These mills represent more than 80% of the Turkish carpet industry and 70% of them are vertically integrated, they spin their own yarns and weave the carpets. Not long ago they were running about 3 000 locally made weaving machines, less than 200 are still in use but 650 modern weaving machines have been erected giving the area an annual capacity of 300 millions square meters.”
President Konukoglu analyses the success of these companies, small or big: “their entrepreneurship spirit with a clear and consistent strategy to go after the mass market worldwide, offer good quality, maintain low production costs and sell at reasonable profits; follow the fashion trends on the different markets worldwide”. One main trend has been the shaggy carpets (long hair), it is here in Gaziantep that it has been developed.
He adds:" We are confident in our future, we can sustain competition from countries with much lower labour costs, in fact we export all over the world, to the US (18% of our exports), Saudi Arabia (14%), many European countries and even China”.
To consolidate Gaziantep leadership a first edition of a carpet fair took place in October 2008 with more than 50 exhibitors and many buyers from all over Turkey and the neighbouring countries.

French textile machinery: a technology partner
To fit the needs of this modern carpet industry, the French textile machinery manufacturers are very well positioned. Bruno Ameline, the chairman of their association, UCMTF, explains “in France, we have state of the art, very active specialized SMEs, leaders in their sectors of application like spinning, preparation of yarns, dobbies, Jacquard, etc.”
Turkey is a very important market for the French textile machinery, approximately 100 millions US Dollars worth were shipped to Turkey in 2007 (about 10% of the one billion exports).
 For Evelyne Cholet, the association Secretary General “the Turkish market is important for us but we are also important for Turkey as we are the fourth among importers. This shows that the French offer from technology and service oriented companies is considered to meet the best standards. UCMTF supports ITM exhibition in Istanbul as the French machinery manufacturers’ goal is to be as close as possible to their customers and understand their needs, to listen to them, to better evaluate how they can create value for them ». She concludes « In fact, the French textile machinery manufacturers are no longer machines suppliers only but technology partners »

A few examples of French machinery in Gaziantep carpet industry

Kartal from fibers to carpets
Halil Kaplan, the founder and chief executive of Kartal can be proud of his company achievements. He established his company 20 years ago only.
He explains « what I am really interested in is the product itself, its intrinsic quality and its adaptation to each country taste in terms of design and colors ». In 2000 he started his spinning department which now produces 35 Tons per day mostly of BCF yarns. To spin the yarns, polypropylene is first extruded then produced through French RITM (formerly ICBT and Rieter FYT) and Superba machines.
On 10 RITM DT and CDDT 10-500 machines, more than 1400 two-for-one positions operate in the twisting of BCF PP 1800/1 dtex at110 tpm and also in direct cabling. The energy savings are very important compared with prior machines, “RITM was promising a 13% saving on energy consumption for the twisting process and 20% for cabling, it has been verified in real production” says the CEO.
2 SUPERBA lines include a TVP2S 48 yarns and, most recently, a TVP3 60 yarns which gets the latest technologies, has a production capacity 30% higher than the previous machines and the smallest energy consumption on the market. The energy savings on this machine has been computed by Kartal experience at around Euros 80 000 (US $ 100 000) per year.
Furthermore, heat-setting of the yarn on the SUPERBA machines treats the yarn up to its core and this has an important effect on the carpet itself. An improved pinpoint effect gives a much better definition to the design, a much improved durability of the color fastness and the yarn has a much better resilience when it is pressed by some heavyweight fixtures. (It improves the memory of the yarn to come back to its initial position).
The energy savings from these machines is very important for a cost conscious production process. « The pay back we computed before choosing the machines was very attractive says Halil Kaplan, and now we have been able to verify the fact that we really get it, in fact it is even a bit quicker than we originally thought. This is a must for our strategy which is to work close to our customers, create good designs, produce good quality carpets and always reduce our production costs without jeopardizing the quality”. He concludes “RITM and SUPERBA are very close partners for us, we rely on their advices and analyses, we trust these companies, their representatives and work closely with their agents and technicians located in Istanbul but very often here on the spot.”

Bükücü: carpet weaving technology
Founded in 1978, Bükücü Textile Co Ltd is still run by the founders, Asim, Mustafa and Metin Bükücü but the second generation, very internationally oriented, is coming in. Exhibiting in Domotex in Hanover (Germany), Shanghai (China) and Istanbul (Turkey) is an important way to make new contacts and establish their brand « Giza rugs » but most of the job is made in their own premises between their customers and in-house designers. Young Erkan Bükücü explains “We can offer a very rich product variety of techniques and sizes, as heat set, acrylic, wool, shaggies, PP friese, hand carved, Sisal and flat weave”. The production capacity is 2.5 million square meters per year.
After producing for the local market, Bükücü decided in 1992 to enter more demanding exports markets, particularly to Western European countries. This strategy could only be achieved with machines giving the best quality and flexibility. Since 1999, STÄUBLI has been a real partner to implement this strategy for several reasons explain Asim Bükücü : “First of all the carpet weaving machines ALPHA 360 made by STÄUBLI Group company Schönherr (now Bükücü has 6 computerized workbenches) are very efficient. Equipped with three position STÄUBLI Jacquard machines type LX2490 manufactured in France and also STÄUBLI dobbies, they enable very easy changes, much easier than with cam boxes which need mechanical changes”. An other reason, he explains, is that STÄUBLI has not only a Turkish office in Istanbul but a permanent branch in Gaziantep staffed with 3 technicians eager to offer the best service and maintaining spare parts in their local warehouse.

Merinos: a world leader
 Merinos is a world leader in the carpet industry, the second biggest worldwide.
The three sons, Ali, Ibrahim and Mahmut, of the highly respected founder, the late Mehmet Erdemoglu, run the US $ 250 million company with a covered area of 240 000square meters on 1 050 000 square meters of land in Gaziantep.
Ibrahim, the President of the board of management, considers the customers but also the technology at the heart of the company strategy. Explaining the history of the company, how his father started in 1970 with 2 kilim, second hand weaving machines, he put a lot of emphasis on investments in machinery. To control the whole production process he started in 1990 his long lasting relationship with NSC (Nicolas SCHLUMBERGER Company from Guebwiller, France) with second hand spinning machinery and he bought his first new machine, an NSC THIBEAU card in 1994.
The growth of the company in such a short period of time is quite impressive, the strategy is ambitious, rationalistic and highly consistent: vertical integration is the key for Ibrahim Erdemoglu. For the acrylic carpet manufacturing, vertical integration includes the opening and dyeing processes, the spinning and the weaving.
Concerning the spinning, 1400 tons of Acrylic are produced every month on 3 NSC lines including 3 CA 6  semi worsted cards, 3 GC 30 gills on each line (9 gills all together) and one FMV42 rubbing frame on each line (3 all together). The plant manager when asked which features were highly important for him said: consistency of the product, reliability, flexibility, the costs of energy and spare parts, and the service provided by the machinery manufacturer. The costs of spare parts depending on both the unit price and the availability, he praised NSC which maintains spare parts locally and then is able to deliver and, if necessary install, them very quickly. He also praised RITM explaining that Merinos has got a long partnership with this French manufacturer. During the last six years, RITM has delivered 1200 positions in twisting and direct cabling. In order to improve operators‘ working conditions the last 6 machines have been equipped with a pneumatical assistance on the creels.

Today Merinos wants to go further than carpet manufacturing and offers a total look for the home market, including coordinated carpets, home textiles and furniture (produced in Izmir). It is also, under a unique brand, a kind of integration!

“I buy the best machinery”
These three companies have many common features which they share with the whole carpet industry in Gaziantep. They are family owned and managed with a long term strategy.
 They are young companies and have really become industrial operations about 10 years ago.
 They are led by entrepreneurs with a clear passion for their products, a real will to operate on long term partnerships with both their customers and suppliers. French textile machinery manufacturers such as NSC, RITM, STÄUBLI and SUPERBA are proud to be among these partners and have an unlimited determination to work hard to remain such, always remembering Ibrahim Erdemoglu’s last word when we left him and asked him to summarize our meeting: « I buy the best machinery worldwide! »



French Textile Machinery Manufacturers'Association
58, avenue de Wagram
75017 PARIS
Tél.: +33(0) 4 69 31 02 82