The company serves the Turkish and world market with Galaxy machines (tubular), which began to be developed in the 1980’s and 90’s, Delphin machines (rope) and Scout machines (open-width). Erbatech shifted its production focus to the Scout type open-width machines in line with the demands and changing quality standards of the customers in the 2000’s. Offering solutions for dyeing wall-to-wall carpets by Supraflor machines, Erbatech also develops solutions for turnkey hydrophilic cotton (medical or cosmetic) facilities under the Obermaier brand.
In this special issue dedicated to Germany, we held an interview with Timuçin Benal, Sales Manager at Erbatech. We talked with Benal on the latest technologies developed by Erbatech, which lately offers installation solutions for woven fabrics, the Turkish market and their targets for the year 2019.
As Erbatech, you are one of the brands specialized in knitted fabrics. What is the secret to this long-term success of yours? Can you tell us about your philosophy?
The secret to our success lies in specialization, as you have indicated. We strive to focus on a single issue and do the best on it, rather than focusing on multiple things. We’re trying to work on less but more efficiently. In doing this, we have been working with a team, that has been with us for many years and has not changed much since then. In sum, we can say that working diligently and being stable are two basic elements in our success.
Erbatech is the market leader in custom-designed solutions for dyeing and and finishing machines for knitted fabrics. What distinguishes Erbatech products from others?
Simply, experience. We are the first company to focus on this issue, namely continuous wet finishing for knitting fabrics. Our story started with the first continuous rope washing machine, Colorado, in the 1980s, followed by Delphin, Galaxy and Scout models for open-width knitted fabrics in the early 1990s. In this period, hundreds of machines and feedbacks from our customers make everything clearer for us on the machines produced. The most important thing that distinguishes us from other brands is the know-how we have attained over the years and utilizing it correctly and transferring it to new generation machines.
We know that recently you have also installed machines for woven fabric manufacturers. Your machines are in demand in this area too. What do you think is the reason for that?
Yes, we have made a few installations for woven fabric manufacturers especially in Bursa. The reason we are preferred is that our customers are working more and more with tension-sensitive fabrics (such as low-weight or width-length lycra type fabrics). Conventional woven wet finishing machines have become unable to meet today’s requirements and this has aroused interest in more delicate knit wet finishing machines.
OUR MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE IS HUMAN RESOURCES
What do you pay attention to when you invest in technology in order to maintain your competitiveness and quality? What are your criteria?
Erbatech’s most important issue is human resources. We carefully select the people we will work with. We believe that solutions created by educated and caring people will be long-lasting and sustainable. We believe that the essential criterion for competitiveness and quality is to work with the right people, and we act in line with this approach.
Can you tell us about the latest technological innovations that you have developed and used in knitted fabrics?
As you know, our continuous bleaching machines are highly preferred in the market. So, we wanted to transfer the success which we have achieved in half-white bleaching to the optical bleaching, and therefore we developed an optical compartment called OBA. The target was to applicate wet-on-wet optical brightener with medium and high substantivity. While developing this new product, we benefited from our steaming compartment used in continuous bleaching machine as well as from our nip dyeing technology which we use successfully since years in our CPB dye padder. The first day we introduced the product in the market as an innovation, the OBA compartment received great admiration and became the choice of many customers.
Can you tell us about your agencies in the world and the countries where you mainly export to?
In fact, we strive to be present wherever the textile industry is active and we have representatives in many places, but the world is big and at the end of the day you have to attach more importance to a few markets than others. The five markets we prioritize are Turkey, India, Bangladesh, Central Europe and Indonesia. However, I think that the Uzbek market will pass the Indonesian and Central European markets very soon. The potential there is very big, so we are taking the necessary steps to seize our place. Of the markets I mention, the Central European market is a bit different then the others. Here we rather offer solutions for synthetic fabrics (technical textiles). I mean de-oiling washing machines, a topic which begins to be popular in Turkey as well.
WE HAVE VERY BIG MARKET SHARE IN TURKEY, BANGLADESH AND INDIA
In which country do you have the biggest market share?
We have a very big market share worldwide on the continuous wet finishing of knitted fabrics. To name a few countries, Turkey, Bangladesh and India are countries where we have many machines in operation and where we have a big market share.
What is the importance of Turkey for your company in terms of your export markets? How is the demand from Turkish companies for your products? What products of yours are the most demanded?
Turkey is a market where we have long been stable and our export performance is quite good. It is one of the two countries, where we export the most alongside India in the last 10 years. The product we sell the most in Turkey is the continuous bleaching machine. This machine is like a signature for Erbatech. In addition, our washing machines for printed fabrics and cold pad-batch dye padders for knitted fabrics are the two of our most preferred products. I think our CPB dye padder in particular will be the most important product in the coming years.
Can you tell us about your market share in Turkey?
It is difficult to answer this question with precision in a large market like Turkey, I can say that we are the market leader in the continuous openwidth machines for knitted fabrics.
2018 BECAME THE SECOND MOST SUCCESSFUL YEAR FOR ERBATECH
How was the year 2018 for Erbatech? Can you make a brief evaluation?
Last year it was the second most successful year in the history of Erbatech, and we have had new customers from Bangladesh, Turkey, Poland and Uzbekistan. We have been enthused in particular for selling two new products in Turkey, which previously had not been used here. I believe both products will be talked about very much in the Turkish market in the next years.
What do innovation and R&D means for Erbatech? Can you tell us about your activities in this area?
We have significant efforts in the field of innovation. We are trying to transfer the know-how we have acquired on technical textiles especially in the European market to products in other areas, thus create a positive transition between different fields. Our efforts have yielded very good results on three new products. We will display two of these at ITMA 2019. You can visit our booth to have a look.
Can you tell us about your goals and investments for 2019?
As you know, this is the year for ITMA, and it offers us a great opportunity to meet with customers from all over the world. The focus shifts to this event as the month of June approaches. Obviously, this exhibition will be a good opportunity for us to expand to a wider geography globally, and this is exactly in line with our 2019 goals. We aim to become more active in the Central and South American markets, where we have not been so active, and to carry our success story in Europe and Asia there. This is not something that will happen within a year, but ITMA offers a good opportunity to start.
Interview: Dilek Hayırlı