The scenery around Lake Abant about 250 kilometers east of Istanbul is heralded as one of the most scenic spots in Turkey. At an altitude of 1,350 meters above sea level it is fed by several springs and streams and the meltwater from the surrounding mountains. Lined with spruce and pine, the lake lies in the midst of a nature park whose pleasant climate and rich variety of plants make it a popular place of recreation halfway between the Bosporus and the capital of Ankara – and way beyond the national borders. This region, especially popular for its winter sports, is well known to Turkish company Kaya Holding which has been running two of its thirteen hotels as luxury ski resorts here for over twenty years.
In view of the excellent quality of the spring water away from the megacity of Istanbul, it seemed logical for the corporate group – ever mindful of new business opportunities and ways of diversifying its operations – to enter the rapidly growing Turkish market for bottled water. In 2008 the first of what are now two production sites for natural mineral water was thus opened. With this Kaya Holding laid the foundations for a veritable story of success; since then its subsidiary Abant Su has marketed the Abant brand of still, exceptionally clean water with an excellent taste and low sodium content which is enjoying increasing popularity throughout the whole of Turkey.
Within the shortest time Abant Su thus established itself as one of the big players on the market. The company currently ranks sixth among Turkish bottled water suppliers – and is still not satisfied. “In the medium to long term we want to be among the top three suppliers in Turkey and the entire Middle East,” explains Burak Kaya, CEO of Kaya Holding at Abant Su. “We’re growing fast and I’m confident that thanks to our resources and management team we’re so well placed that we will actually achieve this goal.”
One effective step in this direction was to expand production with the opening of a second plant in Gölcük on the Sea of Marmara, due east of Istanbul, in 2015. “This plant is also an excellent reference line for still water,” smiles Michael Roche, director of the Regional Center Middle East.
“With our local service personnel we can be on site anywhere in Turkey within a few hours.”
Full points for standardization
One of the several reasons why the customer opted for the systems supplier from Dortmund, Germany, was that it was able to meet customer specifications and provide a slightly smaller stretch blow molder with 18 stations instead of the usual 20 or 22. At the same time the output was increased from the previous 2,250 to 2,500 bottles per cavity and hour, resulting in a total system capacity of up to 45,000 bottles per hour. Roche gives three main reasons why KHS was able to assert itself over its competitors. “We not only provide highly qualified technology but also have many years of experience as a supplier of turnkey PET filling systems. We also prove convincing with our line concepts which are precisely tailored to customer specifications. And, last but not least, the high degree of standardization our customers can build on also ensures that the price is right.”
The cooperation with KHS was of course not just a matter of price for Abant Su. “We believe that the packaging quality and efficiency of our production lines are just as important as the purity and taste of our product,” says Kaya Holding boss Burak Kaya, outlining the philosophy of Abant Su. “In order to be able to offer our customers our great product we were thus on the lookout for a new packaging system which would help us to achieve our goals in the long term. The KHS line meets our high expectations and makes sure that production functions in the best possible manner.”
High energy efficiency
This is ensured by line’s technical highlights which KHS expert Roche proudly lists. “As far as energy savings are concerned, KHS has the best stretch blow molders on the market,” he believes. “Compared to the competition we need about 30% less electricity; the smaller compressor and patented AirbackPlus system also mean that our machines use approximately 40% less compressed air.” With a weight of just 9 grams the 0.5-liter PET bottle is the lightest currently available on the market, this alone resulting in a material saving of about 10%. The use of short-wave near infrared radiation to heat up the preforms prior to stretch blow molding enables a very compact machine layout to be realized. This not just saves energy but also space. “Other special features include our new Innoket 360 roll-fed labeling machine and the FullyEnclosed shrink packer,” continues Roche. “This ensures that the PET bottles are not soiled by dust – in full keeping with the Abant brand’s image of great purity – and that the packs remain stable during shipment.”
“KHS supported us perfectly the whole time with its highly professional and efficient local team.”
Strong local team
What finally clinched the deal for Abant Su was the fact that KHS is represented in Turkey by a strong service team – which incidentally is to grow even further in the future. “This means that we can be on site anywhere in Turkey within a few hours. And not just here; in the future our Turkish service personnel can be deployed to commission machinery in other countries in the Middle East, too.”
Investing in local service is a measure which builds up trust – something customers appreciate. In view of the special challenges Abant Su faced, such as the extremely short installation period prior to the start of the summer season and the local climatic conditions with great fluctuations in temperatures, it was important that they could totally rely on their partner KHS. “It was well worth us opting for a competent company established on the market whose highly professional, efficient local team gave us perfect support the whole time,” Kaya remembers. This good partnership is soon to continue. “We’re planning on installing another water line in the near future. In the medium term we want to diversify as a beverage bottler and produce other beverages besides water. This is why we’re watching the new technological features being introduced to our branch of industry very closely and are in constant contact with KHS so that we can apply their innovations for the benefit of our company.”
In any event the new KHS line for still water has attracted much attention in the sector within a very short time indeed – also outside Turkey. For this year Roche is expecting at least ten groups of visitors from all over the world who want to see the new standard for themselves. Two have already been – and have subsequently placed orders. A further water line for the Turkish market has also already been ordered. “With a capacity of up to 81,000 bottles an hour this will be the most powerful line in the history of KHS thus far,” states Roche enthusiastically, believing prospects to be very good for the future. “With this reference we’ll be able to convince more customers of our abilities and continue to build on our market position in the still water segment.”