“As ODE Insulation, we act on the basis of our vision of becoming a global brand”
Ozan Turan, Export Director of ODE Insulation
Would you provide us with brief information about ODE Insulation and then tell us about your export sales?
ODE Insulation’s commercial life began in 1985 with contracting operations. Within a few years, we directed our efforts towards the insulation industry, one of the most needed areas in our country. In 1990, in line with our vision of ‘being different and creating value for our stakeholders,’ we began importing insulation materials that were not available in our country. Using the experience we gained in this field, we began manufacturing operations in 1996 and subsequently focused on growth through production. As of today, we are the largest insulation company in Turkey with 100 percent local capital. We are also the only company that manufactures all three product groups (elastomeric rubber foam, glass wool, and stone wool) in technical insulation. We rank among the top three in Europe in this area.
As ODE Insulation, we act on the basis of our vision of becoming a global brand. In this framework, export has been a priority for our company, particularly since the mid-2000s. As of today, we export our products under the ODE brand to over 75 countries on six continents. Also under the ODE brand, we are featured in prestigious projects not only in Turkey but also in various locations around the world.
On the other hand, we have begun the third round of five years in the TURQUALITY Brand Support Program. We have found this program to be highly beneficial for the steps we have taken in exports. Despite having to take a hiatus because of the global pandemic, we give great importance to attending local and international fairs. These events provide us an opportunity to promote our country and to follow up on new developments in the insulation industry.
The most significant strength in our global journey is the importance we give to R&D and our investments in this area. With this perspective, we established a very strong cadre of engineers in the R&D department of our factory in Eskişehir. We have test units that meet global standards. Within the framework of the five-year strategic plan we have implemented as of this year, we have prioritized R&D and innovation as always. We have also implemented our roadmap for R&D and Innovation and our digital transformation action plan. In the next three years, we will allocate 3 percent of our turnover to R&D and digitalization and triple our R&D team. Our objective is to invest USD 20 Million in capacity increase, digital transformation, and R&D by 2023. We will continue to leave our mark with firsts and to be one of the pioneers of the insulation sector with these investments.
Would you offer us information about your new manufacturing plant that will be set on 20 thousand sqm of indoor space in Eskişehir? When will the plant be completed? By how much will your export capacity increase with the addition of this plant?
Until now, we have been manufacturing R-Flex elastomeric rubber foam thermal insulation materials only at our facilities in Tekirdağ-Çorlu. We have recently decided to invest USD 15 Million to manufacture these same materials in Eskişehir. As you pointed out, with this facility which we will establish on 20 thousand square meters in our Eskişehir campus, we will quadruple our capacity in these products, achieving a capacity of 18 thousand tons/year in total. This investment will bring us to a capacity that equals twice the size of the Turkish elastomeric rubber foam market and further bolster our leadership position which we have maintained in this product group since 1991. It will also elevate us to the rank of the largest manufacturer of these products in the region between China and Germany. We will employ 150 people in our new facilities where we plan to commence manufacturing operations by the end of this year. With the addition of this plant, we will raise our sales volume in export markets as well. We will allocate a significant portion of our capacity to export markets. While we further bolster our leadership position in some markets, we will become the market leader in others.
What are the products which you export?
We manufacture products in two main categories “Building Insulation” and “Installation Insulation” in our three manufacturing plants in Eskişehir and Çorlu. We manufacture and export extruded polystyrene-based thermal insulating materials; bituminous waterproofing blankets; glass wool products used for heat, sound, and fire insulation; and elastomeric rubber foam insulating materials. We have over four thousand product varieties in these product ranges.
We are developing innovative products in order to meet the needs and demands of the market, most notably Europe. Over the recent period, we have developed new products while also adding new products to our existing series. To cite a few examples, last year we added four new products to our membrane series which also includes versions that are the first of their kind in Turkey to have a cold bending resistance at -30°C. With a light grey slate top coating, high SBS additive content, no filler material, a thickness of 5 mm, high grammage felt with a cold bending value of -30°C, and a tensile strength of 100/800 N/50, Epikon Eternal ensures fast and lasting waterproofing at any climate and under tough conditions. With a flexible formula that allows the material to stretch 1000 percent, Epikon Aflame is our elastomeric bituminous membrane that is capable of resisting high water pressure in foundations and shear walls with a silica sand top coating, high SBS additive content, no filler material, a thickness of 5 mm, high grammage felt with a cold bending value of -30°C and a tensile strength of 100/800 N/50. I would also like to point out that Epikon Aflame won us the “Waterproofing Product of the Year” award at the Insulation Sector Achievement Awards that were held for the 18th time this year. Epikon Cool is Turkey’s first patented and TÜBİTAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) certified “Cool Roof” bituminous membrane. Thanks to the light-colored special reflective materials on its surface it has a higher capacity for reflecting solar rays as compared to traditional materials. Epikon Stick-it with its self-adhesive formula which contains no filler offers excellent adhesion to shear walls while providing high resistance to tears and perforations by virtue of its polyethylene coating manufactured using the cross-lamination technique. We have made our mark with another first in Turkey with the SAFEZONE system where we provide a 15-year warranty to our Epikon products.
Last year, as a result of our R&D efforts, we had manufactured R-Flex elastomeric rubber foam in 40 mm thick pipe form. We won the “Thermal Insulation Product of the Year” award at the Insulation Sector Achievement Awards with this product. We are continuing our efforts in the board group where we’ve reached a thickness of 60 mm. In addition to products we develop in our R&D center, we have also engaged in collaborations. For example, we developed our White Stone Covered Membrane product which saves energy by reducing the heat that enters buildings in warm regions and therefore, used for cooling purposes in collaboration with TÜBİTAK. As we have always done, we will continue to develop innovative products and services which meet the needs of the market by focusing our attention on R&D and innovation.
Do you currently have or are you considering establishing a presence overseas? Would you give us information about your export objectives?
During the past year, there has been economic shrinkage in export markets, particularly in countries where the pandemic was heavily experienced, and which imposed significant restrictions in this regard. Despite this fact, we raised the number of countries to which we export our goods to over 75 by adding Benin, Mongolia, Ethiopia, Malta, and Vietnam to our market network. In 2020 we also took part in important projects in Finland, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Azerbaijan, and Benin. We are also the insulation company with the most extensive network of overseas dealerships. This year, we continue to reach new markets, exporting our products, and taking part in prestigious projects.
The countries where we extended our operations in the first part of the year include Qatar, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. A large number of our products are being selected for the construction process that is going on in Qatar, as the country prepares for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. ODE R-Flex products are applied in housing projects in El Vakra, that will house thousands of people. We took part in significant investments in Turkmenistan, such as the Olympic Stadium and the Ashgabat Airport. Our Isıpan and Starflex products are used in the Turkmenistan Sports University, a new project. Our efforts in Uzbekistan are concentrated on three cities. We have applied a total of 165 thousand square meters of ODE R-FLex Board in the Samarkand Tourism Center comprising eight hotels and a convention center and the Samarkand Airport; the Enter Engineer Plaza, AKDADEM Food Skyscraper Restaurant, and a 200-bed private hospital in Tashkent; and the Hilton Hotel in Bukhara. Various projects being implemented in the Dominican Republic also bear the signature of ODE. Henceforth, we will continue to grow by focusing on export sales and creating value as always by meeting the needs of existing markets despite the difficulties in the supply chain.
Portugal and Hungary were other countries which were prominent in our European efforts in the first half of this year. We added value to various sectors, most notably tourism with The Rebello Luxury Hotel Apartments, JAM Lisbon Hotel, Renaissance Park Hotel, AGEAS Office Building in Oporto, Logistics Platform of Aldi Supermarkets, and Olympus Plant Coimbra projects in Portugal. Various ODE products were also used in the Hanon System, STX Production Hall, and Szervita Square Office Building projects in Hungary.
Moreover, certification is considered to be of great importance in the international market. In keeping with this, we acquire certification for our products, since each country requires a specific type of certification and we are expected to meet this criterion. In addition, we are receiving requests from overseas clients for products with more added value. In fact, this demand has always been there, but changing customer expectations, increased awareness of the environment, and increasingly more stringent standards continue to raise this expectation day by day. We are already focused on sustainability, environmental awareness, and contributing to our country in all our manufacturing operations and are conducting various projects to further awareness of insulation. We are the only insulation company that has environmental product declaration (EPD) documents for all of its products. We've been conducting significant work on this matter, particularly over the recent years.