“We have to find ways of making our own margins, and that is why we have to become ultra-efficient in everything we do. ”
Ceyhun Zincirkiran, Managing Director, Sapro
The production area of Turkish specialist nonwovens producer Sapro is more like a group of clinical laboratories than the production hub of one of the world’s largest producers of wet wipes. And it’s not just super clean; the company has embarked on a journey utilizing Metris solutions that will see it become one of the most efficient wet wipe producers in the industry.
“This is a very serious business we are in,” says Ceyhun Zincirkiran, Managing Director, Sapro. “Our products are used by some of the most important people on the planet – mothers and babies – so there is no option for less than perfect products.”
Sapro is based in Istanbul, Turkey, close to the new airport and is one of the top three producers of wet wipes globally. It makes, converts, and supplies some 120 million wipes a day for personal, household, and industrial use, exporting 70% of its production, which goes all across Europe and the Middle East as well as to the USA and Australia.
“So because this is a niche market, you might think that it’s an added value area of the hygiene industry, and with good profit margins,” continues Zincirkiran, “but we are actually subject to the same market price conditions as any other industry – we are in the commodity business. We have to find ways of making our own margins, and that is why we have to become ultra-efficient in everything we do. This is the only way to create our own decent profit margins.”
Ceyhun Zincirkiran, Managing Director, Sapro
Progress was rapid and Sapro grew, adding numerous converting lines for various wet wipe products. The company began consuming a lot of spunlace material from other suppliers, and it soon became clear that a move into producing its own spunlace would make real economic sense.
“We have always had the adage here that ‘we have to grow’. We have a history of vertical integration with our other companies and we decided that what we really needed to do in this case was to backward-integrate and start producing our own spunlace material,” says Zincirkiran.
For Sapro, there was only one company that first came to mind to supply the spunlace technology for its own production needs – ANDRITZ. Zincirkiran has a long association with the wet wipes industry and knew that ANDRITZ could supply the very best in technology. He says, “In 2016, we gave ANDRITZ a call and started talking. ANDRITZ came and visited us, and pretty quickly we decided to install the very latest in technology for our spunlace production.”
Once up and running and producing top quality spunlace, Sapro began looking for ways to implement its already high standards of efficiency in the line. Zincirkiran says, “We were already using various Industry 4.0 applications in converting lines and other areas of the factory through our management information system, so it was the next natural step to apply our knowledge and experience to the spunlace line."
André Michalon, Sales Director, ANDRITZ Nonwoven Division, says, “We asked Sapro to collaborate with us on implementing Metris solutions in the spunlace line simply because they already speak the digital language at the production site. We could also see Metris applications making a real difference to operating efficiencies in the line.”
André Michalon, Sales Director, ANDRITZ Nonwoven Division
So far, Sapro is very pleased with Metris UX and the way it has helped identify areas for potential optimization in the spunlace line, but what about the bottom line? Is it going to make a difference when it comes to making operations more profitable? “This is all about uptime and increasing productivity,” says Zincirkiran. “It's early to say what difference Metris UX has made to the bottom line, but we have already identified parts of the spunlace line that could be redesigned to improve productivity; this will help us and, of course, ANDRITZ with their own technology design.
So far, we have noted many small wins in productivity and, needless to say, they all add up. This really is the future for improving efficiency at our plant. Even an expert on the line can’t be a fortune-teller, but Metris UX is our fortune-teller. We can see exactly what is happening – trends in the line, figures, graphs and tables, all in real time, and then act on them.”
Volkan Yavuz, Factory Manager, Lotus