PORTFOLIO: Not just a manufacturer of pneumatic rack-and-pinion actuators and scotch yoke actuators, SMS-TORK is also known for its electric actuators, on-off valves, control valves, solenoid valves, etc.

SMS-TORK’s star continues to rise

Since the start of 2020, SMS-TORK has not only kept up its manufacturing output and consolidated its overall sales figures, but the company has in fact continued to launch new products and develop additional sales markets. Curious about such strong performance during the global pandemic, VW India & Middle East contacted Deputy General Manager Mr. Ömer Kaya.
 
^ PORTFOLIO: Not just a manufacturer of pneumatic rack-and-pinion actuators and scotch yoke actuators, SMS-TORK is also known for its electric actuators, on-off valves, control valves, solenoid valves, etc.

Article by David Sear,
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If you were to visit SMS-TORK’s manufacturing facility in Turkey right now, you would see a factory complex that is rapidly being extended from 4,000 to 12,000 square metres. This incredible four-fold expansion is the result of the company’s solid, longterm growth, says Mr. Ömer Kaya (Deputy General Manager). “SMS-TORK was established by my father in the mid-eighties. 

With an eye for business opportunities, the aptitude to develop product lines and the commitment required to establish lasting relationships with clients, he laid strong foundations for SMS-TORK. Today, as a medium-sized company, we are ideally positioned to maintain the high standards he set as regards customer satisfaction. So our current expansion plans are really just a logical next step in SMS-TORK’s ongoing development.”

“We see good opportunities for our oil and gas offerings In Turkey, Africa and the Middle East.”

SMS-TORK has always taken business decisions based on a long-term perspective. This has helped the company to weather storms such as Covid-19, believes Mr. Kaya. “In one sense we do have a global presence, being active in 87 countries, but I prefer to describe us as a medium-sized Turkish company, operating from a single headquarters and with a single factory close by. This structure has real benefits in terms of fast, clear communications and streamlined manufacturing, leaving us relatively unaffected by external events.”

Moreover, SMS-TORK continues to profit from Turkey’s very diverse manufacturing industry, adds Mr. Kaya. “We can obtain a huge percentage of the materials and components we need from within Turkey. This has some clear advantages, such as very secure delivery times given that we are effectively safeguarded against hiccups in international logistics or trade disputes. This has really been a major asset in helping us to maintain manufacturing output during the pandemic.”

R&D powerhouse

To many flow control engineers, the name SMS-TORK will be synonymous with quality rack-and-pinion and scotch yoke pneumatic actuators. However, the company’s portfolio is much, much wider, including as it does other types of pneumatic and electric actuators, on-off valves, control valves, solenoid valves, etc.

This portfolio is the combined result of organic growth, a well-thought out acquisition, plus long-standing distribution agreements with many leading OEMs. However, it is the company’s own products, fully developed in-house, that are a real source of pride to Mr. Kaya and all his colleagues.

“Fully 90% of our new products are all developed by us. Our ten-strong R&D department plays a strong role in this, manned as it is by experts with skills in disciplines including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and circuitry. Moreover, close ties have been established with external professionals, including for example local universities, so we know who to turn to if additional input is required.”

Giving examples of the positive achievements made possible thanks to the R&D department, Mr. Kaya points to the line of scotch-yoke actuators, the wider offerings in solenoid valves (including ATEX models) and the introduction of a complete line of electric actuators with torque outputs ranging from 40 N-m to 200 N-m.

Asked what sparked SMS-TORK’s determination to develop scotch-yoke actuators, Mr. Kaya’s answer is startlingly straightforward: “our customers asked us to!” He continues: “as stated, we always listen to our clients, taking their comments, feedback and suggestions most seriously. So when people started inquiring about scotch-yoke products we quickly sprang into action. The rack-and-pinion and scotch-yoke product lines complement each other perfectly. For the same physical dimensions, a scotch yoke actuator delivers more torque and offers extra durability which can be major advantages in some applications.”

SMS-TORK is also receptive to specific requests from individual customers. “The R&D staff really enjoy solving unique challenges, creating engineered solutions for unique applications. Here’s an example: about a decade ago we were approached by a leading truck manufacturer who needed a purpose- built valve. We listened carefully to their needs and quickly designed a valve exclusively for their application. This has resulted in a rolling contract, whereby our valves are installed in all the trucks made by this manufacturer in Turkey.”

Another exciting product with huge potential to have come out of the R&D department is a smart switchbox. “With our smart switchbox, clients can harvest data, track trends and identify problems before they emerge. That is the basis for a predictive maintenance strategy to improve plant performance and output. When we first launched our smart switchboxes a couple of years ago we knew we were well ahead of the curve. That’s because most companies in Turkey traditionally rely on sensors for flow control data. However, interest is growing, especially from plants with an installed base of electric actuators. Hence we have high expectations going forwards and will continue to play our part in developing and implementing the best possible smart solutions.”

Actuators, valves and actuated valves!

In addition to actuators, SMS-TORK is also increasingly seen as a preferred source for valves. Asked as to the origins of these products, Mr. Kaya notes that valves continue to be purchased from a top-quality manufacturer located in Germany. In addition, in 2017 SMS-TORK acquired all the shares of its sister company Varnasan. “Varnasan is a Turkish manufacturer of a wide range of valves including gate, globe, check, ball, butterfly, needle and safety designs,” says Mr. Kaya. “Varnasan and SMS-TORK complement each other perfectly: we are both medium-sized, based entirely in Turkey and committed to developing and delivering the products and services that will bring real benefits to customers. Take our ball valve offerings, for example. To complement the floating ball designs we recently developed trunnion-mounted models. We are currently looking to obtain API certification for these products which will open the door to further sales in the lucrative oil and gas market, for example. Likewise, we have big expectations for our cryogenic globe valves.”

It is a natural question to ask whether SMS-TORK’s valves and actuators are sold separately or as assembled systems. 

Mr. Kaya’s reply is immediate and succinct: “we provide whatever the client requests! Some customers have standardized on an alternative brand of actuator, for example, and we respect that. However, many customers tell us they prefer to purchase actuated valves. We can therefore deliver a ‘plug and play’ product that has been properly assembled, set up and tested. 

This gives the customer real peace of mind. Should anything go wrong in any one of the components we are just a single phone call away. The client knows therefore that he will get a fast response and not be caught up in a dispute between multiple suppliers.”

Ideal partners

Looking ahead, Mr. Kaya stresses that SMS-TORK will continue to work flexibly with all customer groups at home and abroad, be they end users, engineering companies, governmental authorities, OEMs, distributors, etc. “With our manufacturing strengths plus our stocks of finished items ready for dispatch, I believe we are the ideal partner for all types of customers, whether they have large project requirements or just need actuators and valves on an occasional basis.”

Asked about the split between domestic and overseas sales, Mr. Kaya notes that exports account for around 35% of total turnover. “We have strong ties with overseas distributors, who keep stocks available to better serve their own customers. In our domestic market we also work closely with government bodies to provide all the items needed in essential infrastructure, such as water treatment plants, electricity generating stations, etc. Within Turkey we are also a preferred distributor for many ancillary items, such as gauges, sensors, flow meters, regulators, pressure switches, and the like. This was an idea of my father’s, who saw how customers appreciated being able to source the majority of their flow control needs from a single company.”

Mr. Kaya agrees that serving such a diverse customer base is a complex operation. However, he states that the well-established ERP system plus the dedicated team of sales staff guarantee the smooth processing of all inquiries and orders. “We can rely on our extensive experience in serving customers over the years. Today the sales team numbers 25 people, with seven focusing on exports and eighteen on the domestic market. In a normal year we would make around 4000 visits in Turkey alone and be represented in many trade shows at home and abroad. We are all looking forward to resuming those visits, seeing our friends and customers face-to-face again and building our relationships even further. But however clients wish to contact us, in person, by phone, by Skype, etc, they are assured of a genuinely warm welcome and a prompt, professional response to their inquiries.”

About SMS-TORK

Head office
Head office and manufacturing plant: Istanbul, Turkey
Other offices: Germany and Russia
Founded: 1986
Key markets: oil & gas, petrochemicals, food & beverage, LPG, cryogenic, water treatment, chemical, etc.
Main products: actuators (pneumatic & electric), solenoids, process valves (on-off & control), switchboxes, positioners, HVAC and natural gas products, flow-level and pressure analyzers, etc.
 

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