You can find our interview in the corner of the November issue of DTK magazine, "Iz Leavers", below.
Enver Kaya, originally from Trabzon, was born in Samsun at the end of the 50s, when Turkey was struggling with poverty. His father is a farmer and worker, and they move to Zonguldak, the last city where his father went to work.
In this way, he starts primary school in Karaelmas Primary School in Zonguldak. He resides there until he graduates from high school. He won the current Yıldız Technical University Electrical Engineering Department in 1976 and came to Istanbul alone to study. This is how Enver Kaya's life in Istanbul begins…
He started his university life in the years when Turkey was going through the biggest political tests. He graduated from the university in 1980, but the famous 80 coup, which has not been erased from memory for many years and whose effect has survived to the present day, takes place. At that time, it was difficult for a young graduate to find a job… It is very difficult… However, Enver Kaya continues to search with great hopes… After a while, he starts working as a sales engineer in a company in Karaköy, which was considered one of the trade centers of that period. In 1983, he goes to the army to fulfill his national duty. After a short-term military service, he decided to establish his own company in 1985.
Enver Kaya: “I used to go to the consulates of various countries and find the technical information of the companies about the products there”
Enver Kaya, who says that imports were very limited in the 80s and that the industry was not at the current level, conveys the following experiences regarding the difficulties encountered: “As the industry did not develop, nothing could be thought about full automation. Even the fact that we worked in Karaköy in the 80s caused us to be ridiculed, "Can an engineer do this job?" Imported products were also mostly for heating. You could import products such as burners, boilers or automation equipment and control valves used in ventilation ducts. Thermocouples and control devices for temperature measurement were newly produced by a local company in Ankara. I was very affected by this situation. Already in Turkey, the number of manufacturers and large factories to buy these products was very few. You could not find the product catalog in the country. We were communicating via telex. When you pick up the phone, you were waiting for the line volume to drop for about 15 minutes for the city. When you wanted to call outside the city, you were looking for the central post office in Karaköy; it was connecting you to Ankara or other provinces. However, the time was not determined. You could wait until the evening to get a call. In such an environment, it was difficult to access technical information and product range; Since we could not find a catalogue, I went to the consulates of various countries and looked at the product guidebooks of the companies, and I found their information there.”
“We thought of making a different name, not the name of the company, our brand, and in 1988 'TORK' emerged”
SMS TORK General Manager Enver Kaya explains the part after he founded the SMS company to produce and sell industrial materials: “In those years, production in Turkey was almost non-existent, but consumption was made with imported products. There are already a few importer companies in the sector. Products are picked up by sales companies before they leave. When we became an engineer, we wanted to do something in the field of production as an SMS company and 1 year later we started to produce solenoid valves. The SMS brand was on the valves produced. Since the products of SMS were also sold in other vendor shops in Karaköy, they were removing the SMS tag and putting their own company name tag on the product. When we realize this and ask why; They said, 'We don't want to advertise your company'. Brand awareness didn't exist back then. We thought of making a different name, not the name of the company, our brand, and thus 'TORK' emerged. We registered this trademark at the Turkish Patent Institute in 1988.”
SMS TORK General Manager Enver Kaya explains the part after he founded the SMS company to produce and sell industrial materials: “In those years, production in Turkey was almost non-existent, but consumption was made with imported products. There are already a few importer companies in the sector. Products are picked up by sales companies before they leave. When we became an engineer, we wanted to do something in the field of production as an SMS company and 1 year later we started to produce solenoid valves. The SMS brand was on the valves produced. Since the products of SMS were also sold in other vendor shops in Karaköy, they were removing the SMS tag and putting their own company name tag on the product. When we realize this and ask why; They said, 'We don't want to advertise your company'. Brand awareness didn't exist back then. We thought of making a different name, not the name of the company, our brand, and thus 'TORK'.
appeared. We registered this trademark at the Turkish Patent Institute in 1988.”
“Our first production was a solenoid valve”
Adding to his words that the solenoid valve, which was their first production, is a world on its own, Enver Kaya gave the following information about the product variety they have added to their production range over the years: “The market for solenoid valves in Turkey is not very wide. Solenoid valves brought from abroad at that time also have a market in our country. For this reason, we decided to add a new product to our production line and started to produce pneumatic actuators. Because a pneumatic actuator is a device that opens and closes ball or butterfly valves automatically, not manually. In short; You can open and close the ball valve not with arm power, but with the torque force value created by the pneumatic actuator. Automation was in the years when its name was just beginning to be heard in our country. Currently, there is the industry 4.0 trend or something like the word 'automation'. Afterwards, our pneumatic piston valve production started. Then we produced a type of solenoid valve group called pulse valve. In the 90s, our production line continued with these 4 products. With the new varieties added to these products over the years, we still continue the innovations in our sector and continue our production as the leading company in our country.”
“We made our first export to Australia”
Enver Kaya, who stated that they only sold products to the domestic market until 1995, continued as follows: "With the beginning of the use of the internet in business life in the early 1997-98s, we started to reach all parts of the world via e-mail. We have obtained the ISO 9001 Certificate, which is necessary to be able to sell products abroad. After that, we created our website. Thanks to our ability to use the internet, we started promoting abroad via e-mail. We received our first order from Australia. Then, Ukraine, Algeria and Portugal were included among the countries we export to, respectively. Since 2004, we have started to participate in fairs abroad. In this way, we expanded the number of countries we export to and our customer portfolio. Because thanks to the fairs, you can integrate with the world.”
“In 1985-90, we were preparing promotional brochures by cutting and pasting the product photos we found in various media”
Enver Kaya detailed his experiences on how they made sales in the years when they first established the company: “We didn't have a car. We were going to Zeytinburnu by minibus. We were walking around the factories there. You are tired as it is… You go home late; You can spend less time with your family. We were working like workers, not like a boss. We were preparing catalogs by cutting and pasting the product photos we found in various media. At that time, it was expensive for us to take photos of our own products and turn them into slides. I never forget; While establishing this company, we received a fax and a telephone call with 50% of my capital. We bought a fax machine to send the catalogs we made to the companies, but we cannot send them to anyone. Because we saw that fax machine is not common except some government offices. Fax was not common in our client group.”
“Today, TORK branded products are exported to 87 countries”
SMS TORK company, the first domestic manufacturer of solenoid valves, pneumatic actuators, pneumatic piston valves, pulse valves and electric actuators in our country, today sends TORK brand products to 87 countries in the world. TORK, which carries out its production in IMES Organized Industrial Zone in Dilovası, in its facilities established on a closed area of 4000 square meters, has a structure that is managed by determining its annual strategic goals with the ErP system, which makes the journey to reach the corporate structure in our country. It produces solutions for its customers with 100% domestic products that it designs and produces with its R&D team. In the second half of 2017, VARNASAN started to manufacture valves by incorporating the valve company. With its TORK and VARNASAN brands, it continues to increase its power in fluid control in foreign and domestic markets.
TORK is also the sole representative of some of the leading measurement control companies in its sector in Turkey. GHM Honsberg works with brands such as Honsberg, Martens, Tecfluid, Atmi, Aflowt, Tecsis, Graisinger, Beck and Power Genex, whose operating system is about measuring the variability of fluids with sensors, and producing automation solutions that will bring them under control with the control panel and final control elements. Aiming to create a global brand in fluid control technologies from Turkey, the 110-person TORK team continues its work in the field of control valves and automation with 33 years of corporate company experience, world-renowned certificates and quality certified products. Aiming to be the pioneer of firsts in Turkey, SMS – TORK would like to thank all its stakeholders and customers for their contributions to the company on this journey.