Exclusive Sisecam interview

Having recently consolidated all operations into a single entity, Şişecam’s Chairman, Professor Dr Ahmet Kirman, exclusively discusses the diversified group’s current performance, growth strategy and product innovations for the flat glass, automotive glass, glassware and glass packaging sectors. The full version of this article appears in the July/August issue that has been mailed globally and is also now available free of charge in the digital archive*.

Exclusive Sisecam interview

GW: A great deal has changed, both economically and socially, since your last conversation with Glass Worldwide in 2019. What has been the impact of Covid-19 on the group’s ability to satisfy customer demand, while assuring the health and wellbeing of personnel?

The Covid-19 outbreak, which first emerged in Asia and had spread globally as of the first months of 2020, had significant and broad effects not only on businesses, but also on societies, social life, people and economies. Although the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented changes in our lives and the economies, navigating through uncertainties with a dynamic approach to crisis management and the ability to quickly adapt to changing conditions, Şişecam has continued to create value in the extraordinary atmosphere of the pandemic since March 2020.

Şişecam cares for people and adopts the philosophy of ‘people first’ in all of its operations. In every country where it operates, Şişecam quickly implemented and followed all applicable rules, restrictions and guidelines set by public health and government authorities in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Ensuring the health and safety of our 22,000 employees located in 14 countries has always been a top priority of our business strategy. Şişecam follows the highest standards in occupational health and safety across its entire global organisation.

Even prior to WHO’s official declaration of the pandemic, we had already started taking a wide range of measures related to hygiene, disinfecting, travel, protection of employees’ health and business continuity. We implement the preventative measures announced by the World Health Organisation and official institutions of countries where we operate at all our workplaces, alongside our Pandemic Action Plan. As we operate in 14 countries with continuous production in manufacturing facilities, we adjusted our people planning in line with the local authority practices. Our staff at headquarters and sales offices in all countries shifted to hybrid working.

We established crisis committees in conjunction with our Occupational Health and Safety teams, workplace physicians and HR teams to ensure that the precautionary measures taken at the workplaces are followed. We launched a Covid-19 Communication Committee Support Line so that employees could share their questions and any concerns with HR management teams. In addition, the Covid-19 Communication Committee ensured the uniformity of the anti-pandemic measures taken across all the workplaces and closely monitored the number of coronavirus cases. We issued Case Management and Communication Guides for managers and HR teams.

As a company which delivers global solutions with its value added products and provides world-class main input to over 100 industries, we have also demonstrated great agility in taking wide range of measures to ensure business continuity. Since our current business lines require uninterrupted production, Şişecam quickly adapted its production plans and business processes by considering emerging developments in its target markets and geographies. We closely monitored global events and market dynamics related to our business lines with robust crisis management practices. As a result, Şişecam successfully continued its production operations without any interruptions through efforts on optimisation and operational excellence.

As we are keenly aware that corporate success cannot be achieved without successful ecosystems, with this perspective, we have been promptly and effectively taking all necessary measures to protect our stakeholders. Despite the challenging environment brought by the global pandemic, Şişecam supports its key suppliers and customers with ecosystem financing solutions in order to protect all the parties in value chain of business and as well as its stakeholders. By ensuring that its stakeholders are not harmed by the uncertainty and challenging market conditions, Şişecam safeguards value creation.

We also ensured operational sustainability by performing exceptional demand/production planning to support our supply system. We have achieved a remarkably balanced corporate structure thanks to market diversification across our business lines. This competitive advantage, coupled with effective management of production and operating costs, helped to keep Şişecam’s operations intact despite the pandemic. For the foreseeable future, we will maintain our cautious approach while planning carefully and prudently for the period ahead.

GW: Bearing in mind the diversity of countries in which you operate, has it been possible to adopt the same processes consistently or a more flexible approach from one country to the next?

Şişecam is a global player in business lines including flat glass, auto glass, glassware, glass packaging and glass fibre as well as soda and chromium chemicals. Having production operations in Turkey, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Russian Federation, Georgia, Ukraine, Egypt, India and the US, Şişecam plays a leading role in flat glass, glassware, glass packaging, chemicals, automotive glass, glass fibre, mining, energy and recycling business lines. As a company of international scale with more than 85 years of experience, 22,000 employees, production activities spanning 14 countries in four continents, and sales in over 150 countries, Şişecam continues on its journey to become one of the top three global producers in its main business lines.

As part of our responsibility to protect our employees, business partners and customers, we took all necessary measures to safeguard their health without interrupting our production operations and services that are required to meet the basic needs of our communities. Since the Covid-19 is an ongoing pandemic, Şişecam continues to review evolving guidance from public health, government and scientific authorities of the countries where it operates. Based on findings and analysis, Şişecam modifies its measures for each stage of the struggle against the pandemic, such as periods of tighter restrictions and staggered normalisation. We actively promote these precautionary and protective measures in the regions where we operate with a specified approach for each and every country.

We prioritised protecting the employment of our staff as well as their health and well-being and proactively took measures required to ensure business continuity in all Şişecam facilities. We adopt all kinds of occupational health and safety measures for our employees who needed to continue their jobs on-site. We proactively replan the number of employees at our plants in a manner that does not affect production operations while safeguarding employee health. Our staff at headquarters and sales offices in all countries shifted to remote working. We distributed personal protective equipment (PPE) to our employees and suppliers, took several additional measures including disinfecting work areas, reorganising shared spaces and capacity of personnel shuttles, performing general medical screenings and ensuring a socially-increased-distanced working environment. We delivered online training to our employees on remote working and anxiety-stress management.

Exclusive Sisecam interview

GW: Since our last discussion, you have formally united the business under the Şişecam brand. What benefits do you anticipate from this change? What are your expectations and objectives for 2021/22?

In 2020, Şişecam not only celebrated its 85th anniversary, but also recorded a key milestone in its corporate history by consolidating all of its operations into a single entity. With this strategic move, Şişecam has taken a major step forward to shape its future. Achieving a formidable organisational structure with 43 plants across 14 countries and boasting a global workforce of nearly 22,000 employees, 45% of whom are located outside of Turkey, Şişecam has consolidated all of its operations into one entity. Thanks to the agile, responsive and lean global re-organisation made possible with this merger, Şişecam has entered a new area of progress and advancement. Şişecam is positioned to achieve higher levels of operational excellence with a more integrated, digitalised and optimised structure.

Getting smarter and stronger, glass will stretch and change... Glass is one of the most significant inventions of civilisation. This remarkable material stands ready to become an even more indispensable part of human life in the future, albeit in different forms. As a global player, the Şişecam of the future will play a leading role by re-defining and shaping this change.

The Şişecam of the future is focused on global excellence. Centralising its holistic approach to corporate governance with highly qualified human resources and extensive use of smart technologies, Şişecam continuously strengthens its global organisation with agile, lean and effective operations.

Following the merger, we will first complete a multi-dimensional transformation process that enables the effective management of a geography spanning four continents in different business lines and provides agility and simplicity. With the transformation we will have the necessary infrastructure to adapt to the changing conjuncture in the new world order to be established after the global pandemic. The multi-dimensional transformation will also create synergies within the business units of Şişecam and unlock various potential synergies that will directly affect productivity and profitability. The new management structure will create a more agile decision-making process in all the business units and enhance the co-ordination among all units.

Şişecam is also transforming its digital infrastructure by taking into account tomorrow’s needs. The transformation of our company and its lean organisational structure accelerate the focus of digital transformation and technological infrastructure developments, which are currently being worked on. Under the new post-merger organisational structure, Şişecam is speeding up its digital transformation journey to achieve greater operational excellence. Şişecam has been adopting digital transformation not only as digitalisation of the production line and facilities, but also increasing the digital capabilities of the business units such as supply chain, finance and human resources. The holistic approach in this journey is the key focus.

GW: What are the main features of Şişecam’s latest reported annual performance?

Şişecam continued to create value for all its stakeholders in 2020 while the extraordinary conditions of the world health crisis were in effect on all aspects of the global economy. Our sales, after contracting globally in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, started to rise in May thanks to our rapid decision-making and effective managerial actions. With the easing of lockdown measures and first steps toward normalisation, especially since June, Şişecam bounced back with a strong sales performance in Turkey, our home market, and also in other world regions where we operate.

In 2020, Şişecam manufactured 4.9 million tons of glass at its production facilities. In addition, the company produced 2.2 million tons of soda and 4.1 million tons of industrial raw materials in this same period. We reported consolidated net sales of TRY 21.3 billion in 2020 with an increase of 18% year on year. International sales – including exports from Turkey and sales from non-Turkey production facilities – accounted for 60% of our consolidated sales during the year. Şişecam reported consolidated EBITDA of about TRY 6 billion thanks to our optimisation efforts and related actions. Our sound financial structure also enabled us to continue investments necessary for our operations and further expand employment. In the same period, Şişecam recorded total capital expenditure (Capex) of TRY 1.9 billion.

In the first quarter of 2021, Şişecam demonstrated a better financial performance year on year, which refers to the pre-pandemic period. Şişecam’s consolidated sales reached TRY 5.7 billion in the first quarter of the year 2021 with its total investments of TRY 406 million in the same period.

GW: What are the key elements of the group’s ongoing growth strategy?

Şişecam builds its growth strategy on sustainable growth with its solid business practices. We evaluate the organic and inorganic growth opportunities to create a sustainable and profitable structure with a growth focus, and expand existing fields of activity to new and accretive geographies.

Maximising the customer portfolio, ensuring growth in existing geographies, increasing the share of high-value products, completing the global integration of operations and developing flexible production capabilities also have great importance for the vertical growth of the company. Regardless of current business areas, Şişecam is also interested in promising new business areas and integration with start-ups.

To realise all these focuses, we are ensuring that all progress is sustainable both for the company and society in line with our Care for Next sustainability strategy. In order to reach our ambitious global goals, we will evaluate strategic steps to increase our effectiveness in our fields of activity, as well as investment opportunities in new business areas that we believe to be promising.

GW: How are the glass business lines and markets performing?

Şişecam is a global player in the key areas of the glass industry, such as flat glass, glassware, glass packaging, automotive glass, and glass fibre. As of today, Şişecam is the largest flat glass producer in Europe in terms of capacity; fifth globally in flat glass; ranked second in glassware and fifth in glass packaging. The wide range of products manufactured by Şişecam provides input to many sectors such as construction, automotive, home appliances, food, beverage, medicine, cosmetics. Despite the circumstances of pandemic in 2020 and the differentiating performances of Şişecam’s business partners and customers, we managed to achieve a lucrative year.

FLAT GLASS

The flat glass industry was affected widely by the Covid-19 pandemic in the second quarter of 2020. However in the upcoming months, with the help of the low-interest loan support for the dwelling market in Turkey, there has been a rapid growth in the housing renovation market and with the pent-up demand; the flat glass demand started to increase in the second half of the year. Another sector that plays an important role in the flat glass demand is furniture manufacturing. Depending on the rise of the furniture export, the demand for flat glass in Turkey has also increased. In addition to the construction and furniture sectors, the home appliance sector recovered with increasing demand for domestic and export sales in the last quarter of 2020.

Seeing that the demand in all sectors is permanent, the flat glass industry has a more resilient stance for 2021 compared to the glass packaging and glassware operations which were exposed to HORECA (hotel/restaurant/café) business dynamics. In the first quarter of 2021, higher than expected consumption in the domestic market and an increase in exports of processed glass producers continued to be seen and it increased the demand for flat glass. Solid growth in domestic sales was not only the result of rising local construction, home appliance, automotive and furniture industries’ demand but also in relation with demand coming from processor clients, using Şişecam float glass as an input and selling the final products in overseas markets. Demand for construction industry was mostly derived from ongoing projects, while local clients’ architectural glass purchases for their projects outside Turkey continued to support the sales.

AUTOMOTIVE GLASS

With the global slowdown in the automotive industry in the first quarter of 2020 and the excess supply created by the new lines that came into operation, serious price competition was experienced in Europe, and customers avoided keeping inventory. Although the volume of sales in Russia and India was relatively positive, there was a price pressure due to excess supply. In all regions, quantitative losses were kept at a minimum level with the market and customer-based sales conditions that would ensure continuity in purchases. The recovery trend in the international markets that started in June 2020 and our ability to act more quickly than other manufacturers in meeting the demand increase created a positive effect in our sales compared to the beginning of the year.

Even though Covid-19’s negative impact started to gain power again in the third period of 2020, increase in the demand has not been affected negatively, and also, new opportunities have arisen as the supply chain balance of the sector has shifted to large-scale producers’ advantage. Şişecam has managed to perform the right actions at the right points in international markets. Although the problems in supply chains during the pandemic period in the Middle East and overseas markets negatively affected shipments, the shipments continued within the limits of capacity. In Şişecam’s all-international regions – consisting of India, Bulgaria, Italy, Egypt, Russia – sales performance was higher than the previous year’s results.

GLASSWARE

Şişecam Glassware outperformed the sector average by managing the pandemic effectively, taking the right actions and implementing the right strategies. The company focused on boosting operational efficiency and adopting lean business processes in 2020 in all four locations, namely Turkey, Egypt, Bulgaria and Russia. During the pandemic year of 2020, Şişecam Glassware also aimed to develop innovative value-added products in line with evolving consumer needs and emerging primary trends. As part of these efforts, Şişecam Glassware introduced to the market the world’s first glassware products featuring antimicrobial coating: V-Block Technology. Şişecam’s proprietary V-Block coating can be applied to external surfaces of glass products to prevent the growth of micro-organisms on glass surfaces. With the antimicrobial V-Block products, Şişecam aims to accelerate the post-pandemic normalisation against Covid-19 while significantly contributing to the national economy.

GLASS PACKAGING

Despite challenging Covid-19 pandemic the global glass packaging market experienced a successful period in 2020. While investments in the sector were postponed significantly to the following years, product lightening projects, operational excellence and efficiency-oriented studies continued rapidly. The pandemic caused a decrease in the consumption of glass packaging in the alcoholic beverage, soft drink-fruit juice and water sectors, which was affected by the decline in HORECA channel consumption with the closure of businesses globally. Household consumption models, which have an important share in the glass-packaged products category, came to the fore in line with health awareness and hygiene concerns, which have become even more important with [Covid-related] precautions.

Şişecam Glass Packaging, which always prioritises the value offered to the customer, succeeded in carrying its sales above 1.2 million tons in Turkey operations in 2020. In Russia, Şişecam Glass Packaging, strengthening its position as the leading glass packaging supplier in the market, recorded the highest turnover in the local currency in the market. Opportunities continue in the glass packaging business, where epidemic-related downside risks on the demand side are relatively limited as it is a food, beverage and pharmaceutical industry supplier for 2021. Competitive cost, end-to-end supply chain, total quality management, positioning as the preferred glass packaging supplier by providing customer loyalty and creating value for the customer, high service level, production efficiency and operational excellence will be among the most important focus areas for 2021.

GW: Are any parts of the business currently the subject of major investment in the near future?

Tracking and evaluating growth opportunities that will strengthen our market positions and add different dimensions will ensure Şişecam’s rise with new expansions in the future. In line with our vision and our pioneer position, we will continue to grow in our main markets and look for new business areas. We maintain interests in M&A, brownfield and greenfield investment opportunities in different regions across the globe.

Despite the pandemic, we continued our investments with an amount of approximately 1.9 billion TL in 2020.

Our main investments were:

  • We turned our Polatlı, Turkey facility into Europe’s largest flat glass base with the eighth furnace that we ignited in October 2020, with an investment of approximately ~US$140 million.

  • In March 2021, upon completion of its cold repair process, we ignited the sixth furnace in our Yenişehir flat glass production facility in Turkey. With the completion of the Mega Jumbo production investment in this furnace, Şişecam became one of the few producers in the world to manufacture flat glass up to 16 metres.

  • Şişecam will continue to create value by actively using its 2 million tons of flat glass production capacity in Turkey, upon completion of the cold repair process of our fifth flat glass furnace at our Yenişehir facility, in the last quarter of 2021.

  • Last year, we completed the renovation and modernisation investment of our Şişecam South Italy facility, which is our second flat glass investment in Italy. As the largest flat glass producer (in terms of installed capacity, including Turkey) in Europe, we aim to make Şişecam South Italy our second flat glass production facility in Italy and our third flat glass production facility in the EU – strategically beneficial in terms of our flat glass activities in Europe.

In addition to investments on the production side, Şişecam also continues to invest in its digital transformation project. As highlighted by SAP [Şişecam’s main Enterprise Resource Planning system] itself, our transformation programme is among the top three largest global transformation projects that they are conducting. We started our Digital Transformation Programme back in the early days of 2018 and the programme has already found its place as one of the ‘leading best practices’ among the projects that numerous global industrial enterprises have been conducting so far. ERP system transformation process is scheduled to continue with the remaining business lines of our portfolio of operations that are expected to be completed in the next 2–3 years. When the process is completed, Şişecam, along with other projects, will have the tools and advanced technologies required to use artificial intelligence and data analytics in addition to cloud-based systems and big data processing skills. It will be an essential milestone for our digital transformation.

Considering the major investment activities mentioned, Şişecam is still looking into potential opportunities to broaden its horizon in global scale with new investments and greenfield activities. The fields we are interested in and considering are not only limited to glass industry, but we are also looking into many potential sectors with sustainable growth and profitability in adjacent businesses. We are evaluating the potential of different business areas in line with our existing operations goals.

GW: How will the $30 million IFC financial package be used at the Pasabahce tableware plant in Egypt and what benefits do you expect to derive?

As one of the top global producers, Şişecam is ranked as the second largest glassware producer both in Europe and globally. Our glassware business constituted 15% of Şişecam’s sales revenue in 2020. Our international (including exports from Turkey) glassware sales constitutes 58% of our total revenues, and the business line mainly aims to boost its penetration in global markets while focusing on the selected target markets.

We carry out our glassware production operations in Kırklareli, Eskişehir and Denizli in Turkey, as well as in Bulgaria, Russia and recently in Egypt. After finalising the acquisition process in the last quarter of 2017, we started our production operations in Egypt in 2018. This acquisition has strengthened our glassware division’s growth strategy in the Middle East and Africa. Egypt’s Qualified Industrial Zone agreement with USA gives us a great opportunity to penetrate the North American market with advantages on customs and duties. As a part of integration process, Egypt became our third glassware production location outside of Turkey.

Şişecam has secured a $30 million financial package to enhance the Pasabahce Egypt facility, which mainly serves markets in Middle East and United States. Pasabahce Egypt Glass Manufacturing S.A.E. will use the proceeds to strengthen its financial position, increase production capacity with higher value-added manufacturing practices, and implement efficiencies that will reduce its natural gas and electricity consumption by 10%.

GW: How is Şişecam reducing its carbon footprint?

Climate change is one of the most critical risk elements that the entire business world, regardless of industry or size, must jointly fight against. At Şişecam we continue our operations with the aim of reaching our greenhouse gas reduction target as part of our sustainability strategy. For sustainable and profitable growth, we pay significant attention to utilising our resources with utmost efficiency. Operating in an energy-intensive industry, Şişecam continues its operations with an awareness and responsibility to fight against climate change and aims to cut down energy consumption by developing innovative, eco-friendly novel products meeting customer needs in all industries where it operates. Şişecam carries out activities for identifying and implementing a roadmap for sustainable energy supply, renewable energy resource implementations and uptake of best available technologies and process improvements to ensure energy efficiency.

As a result of energy efficiency activities, a 734,000 GJ energy saving from fossil fuel and electricity was ensured in 2019. Moreover, with the 6.2 MW solar power plant installed on the roof of our Mersin Flat Glass plant in 2017, Şişecam took its place among the top 10 in the world in terms of installed capacity from an ‘integral roof system’. In addition to this solar power plant, 330 solar panels with a total power of 87 kW were installed on the roof of Şişecam Science, Technology and Design Centre in 2018.

As well as the improvement in production, Şişecam also contributes to global efforts with its climate friendly, sustainable products such as energy efficient glazing, low iron glasses, lightened glass packaging. Furthermore, Şişecam recently developed a glassware collection – Aware – which is made from 100% glass cullet. This product (recycled tableware) reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 38% while also decreasing the end-customer carbon footprint and urging customers to take climate action for recycling repeatedly.

GW: How does Şişecam contribute to the wider Turkish economy via its energy efficiency, recycling and energy saving products?

Şişecam takes the social, environmental and economic pillars of sustainability into account in all its operations to bring an equitable, viable and bearable future for the next generations. To this end, Şişecam mainstreamed sustainability principles in its corporate strategy and realigned its operations to add value to generations to come while striving to become a fair and transparent global player. As a global party and a supporter of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Şişecam initiated its five-year corporate sustainability strategy under the title ‘Care for Next’ in 2017.

With its 100% recyclable nature, eco-design and modern production technology, glass is a perfect material for circular economy. As one of the leading companies in the global glass industry, Şişecam recognises the advantageous nature of glass in circular economy and aims to implement a circular model into operations which includes the sustainable use of energy and natural sources. Within the scope of circular economy, we have progressed in recycling operations in recent years and established a glass recycling company with the partnership of EBRD [European Bank for Reconstruction and Development] in 2016 with the aim of increasing the usage of glass recycling in Turkey. With the capacity additions we have made, the company’s aggregate capacity increased to 790k tons per year. In addition to reduced use of raw materials, parallel to our climate action plan we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 33,000 tons on an annual basis.

In the glass making process, it is possible to use up to 90% of recycled glass, translating into a reduction in the use of virgin raw materials and energy in the process. With its successive actions, Şişecam has been pioneering the establishment of a domestic infrastructure for glass recycling in Turkey and investing in the future through efforts for increasing glass recycling practices. In addition to saving natural resources, Şişecam has also been providing conditions for employment opportunities and favourable working environments.

Using eco-friendly, energy efficient and sustainable material is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create job opportunities and meet growing energy demand. Şişecam aims to create and enhance a wide range of value proposition with its innovative product portfolio. Our value-added flat glass products, such as coated solutions, reduce heating and cooling needs and therefore energy consumption costs in the building sector, where approximately 30% lower energy consumption is realised.

Glass fibre products used in the automotive industry also contribute to a reduction in energy costs by lowering the weight of vehicles. Glass is also the main component of photovoltaic panels [for converting light into electricity] and a key component of wind turbine blades. With all these glass products, the industry is an important supplier to another growing area: renewables.

GW: How does Şişecam’s approach to sustainability serve different markets?

The global glass and chemical industries have the capability to produce solutions for the most critical issues facing the world today, in the arenas of health, the environment, climate and energy. Şişecam is one of the major players of the global industry with operations spread across four continents. Our sustainability approach involves the integration of sustainability in all levels of the production value chain and empowering our stakeholders to create solutions that make a difference with them. Our ‘Care for Next’ sustainability approach supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and encompasses the entire value chain, from raw materials to end users. At Şişecam, our sustainability priorities are based on the pillars of ‘Preserve,’ ‘Empower’ and ‘Progress.’ We continue to PRESERVE natural resources and its corporate heritage for future generations and to EMPOWER our stakeholders through diversity and inclusion principles, and achieve PROGRESS in combating climate change. We aim to unify this sustainability vision to include all stakeholders in the value chain – from raw material procurement to production, production to sales, sales to customer and post-consumption.

We conduct comprehensive initiatives and projects, ranging from the Carbon Disclosure Project to integration of zero waste and the circular economy approach into management processes. We also focus on fostering diversity and inclusion; boosting female employment in production; extending ecosystem financing; supporting the value chain; performing effective energy and resource management; and minimising the environmental impact of our operations.

Since our founding, we have upheld our ethical values, transparency, accountable open management style and responsible approach toward stakeholders. We remain committed to further improving our entire value chain with a sustainability-driven mindset with a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects in line with global digitalisation and other evolving trends.

Şişecam also offers sustainable products into its operating markets and geographies; for example, lightweight glass packaging solutions that can be produced with fewer raw materials and less energy. By implementing a design change a 14% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions has been achieved for a single bottle type.

With our 100% Recycled Glassware initiative, a product development innovation, we aim to raise awareness of sustainability and the environment. This effort also incorporates the concept of 100% recycled glass into Şişecam Glassware products. This innovative collection significantly reduces energy consumption and raw material use during the melting process. Greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by more than 38% with this collection.

GW: Are there other examples of product innovation in the pipeline that you can discuss?

Glass is a critical component of numerous industries, including architecture, construction, automotive, transportation, informatics, data storage, and electronics. In addition, glass is widely used in imaging technologies and optics, energy generation, distribution and storage, passive and active coatings, smart/hygienic glass packaging, interactive glass household appliances, medicine, biology, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and anti-radiation products. Worldwide competition triggers R&D efforts with remarkable innovation perspective in the rapidly-evolving science and technology of glass.

Therefore, Şişecam has dedicated its Research and Technological Development efforts and operations to developing highly innovative, environmentally-friendly, competitive products and production technologies. Our research and development centre, where 164 scientists work together in 29 well-equipped laboratories, focuses on developing new glass compositions, new glass coatings, new processes, formulations, designs and melting technologies in order to add value to the comforts and aesthetics of life through innovation by pushing the boundaries of glass science and technology. In addition, Şişecam embraces an open innovation and pre-competition co-operation approach across the organisation, through joint efforts and projects with universities and research centres, as well as public and private research institutions in Turkey and overseas.

In recent years, a decent amount of investment has been made in the field of magnetron sputtering coating technologies and the theoretical production capacity has been increased five times in the last eight years. Thus, we increased the variety of our heat and solar control products. In this context, Şişecam, which aims to serve energy saving and environmental protection with continuous development and innovation projects, will continue to develop high-performance heat and solar control coated glasses for use in projects such as residential housing, office centres, villas and retail stores that require transparency and low reflection properties in addition to maximum heat insulation and solar control.

Şişecam has started mass production for a high performance windshield with infrared reflective coating, which was developed by our research and development centre to ease the load on air conditioning and supply a defrosting function by providing heat and solar control for use on laminated windshields of vehicles. In addition, a windshield featuring head-up display that presents vehicle and driving data without requiring drivers to look away from the road had been developed and the customer approval process has been finalised. A patent application was filed for the glass B-pillar developed in 2019. Customer approvals have been received from leading automotive manufacturers for this product, and necessary preparations have been completed to start mass production of the product in 2021. In addition, we have solid targets for thin and lightweight glass solutions in the near future for automotive applications and with this focus, we started to develop glass prototypes by using thin glasses which are strengthened by chemical tempering technology. Additionally, projects undertaken to develop glass systems offering resistance to different types of attacks, such as ballistic attacks or explosions, for use in security and safety applications continue at full pace.

Currently, Şişecam is engaged in product development efforts to offer functional coatings such as anti-reflective coatings for the architecture and energy sectors as well as next generation ecological water-based mirrors and solar mirrors (called heliostats) which are a key component of tower-type concentrated solar energy plants and smart glass systems to meet industry demands.

In addition, projects have commenced to develop new glass and glasslike materials for use in advanced technological applications and expand Şişecam’s product portfolio with such materials, including infrared transmitting chalcogenide glasses, glass ceramics capable of transmitting different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, laser glasses, high temperature-resistant glasses for general purposes and various optical glasses. Accordingly, new laboratories were established to melt and prepare such materials.

In the field of glassware, beyond the standard decoration, functional coatings are also being developed and widely used. Developed by Şişecam’s R&D centre, thermochromic coatings that change colour with temperature and photochromic coatings that change colour in daylight are innovative coatings developed for this sector. Our work in this field rapidly continues to obtain innovative surface effects by using smart technologies. We do not intend to lose our distinction of being the leading company that introduces innovative products to this market.

As mentioned previously, in 2020 we implemented V-Block Technology which prevents the growth of micro-organisms on glass surfaces. We would like to apply V-Block Technology in flat glass and glass packaging areas. We are also open to collaboration for the use of this technology in other areas. Consequently, enriching the product portfolio and providing innovative solutions to the evolving needs of the industry are key objectives of Şişecam’s strategies.


Images: Professor Dr Ahmet Kirman, Sisecam headquarters and flat glass production.

Further Information: 

Şişecam (headquarters) Tuzla/İstanbul, Turkey
tel: +90 850 206 50 50
web: www.sisecam.com

 


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