VitrA Tiles focuses on large sizes

The new line which was inaugurated in May in Bozüyük increases VitrA Tiles production capacity to 25.5 million sq.m. and offers outstanding potential in terms of AI and energy efficiency.

In May 2022, VitrA Tiles officially opened its new plant for the production of large-format porcelain tiles in Bozüyük, Turkey. While accelerating its growth in the European market, the investment will also make a major contribution to the Eczacıbaşı Group’s sustainability efforts by reducing energy consumption and wastage.

The new line features advanced Industry 4.0 applications and increases production capacity to 3.5 million sqm/year of large-format tiles, mostly for export.

The project, completed in the year in which Eczacıbaşı Holding celebrates its 80th anniversary, is a source of pride for Chairperson Bülent Eczacıbası, who stressed that this is not the only investment in 2022.

“We have allocated an additional € 25.5 million investment to modernise and improve the efficiency of the VitrA Tiles lines, and to install the fifth line focused on ceramic sanitaryware production,” he said.

These operations are part of a broader investment programme covering all the Turkish group’s business lines, which will exceed a total of €250 million this year.

“The Eczacıbaşı Group has been a flag-bearer of modern, high-quality and healthy living for the last 80 years and has played a major role in Turkey’s process of industrialization,” added Bülent Eczacıbası. “We have expanded the reach of our brands beyond Turkey’s borders to become an international player with 12,000 employees and production operations on three continents. Today, our 46 companies and 39 production plants are active in over 120 international markets. We account for more than 50% of our country’s total ceramic sanitaryware exports and are the leading exporter of ceramic tiles to the EU. The launch of our new VitrA Tiles plant will expand our capacity even further.”

Exports account for more than 80% of VitrA Tiles’s total sales. The company sells its products in 75 countries around the world, with Germany being its top export market.

Greater capacity, quality and sustainability

The new plant increases the production capacity at the Bozüyük site from 22 to 25.5 million sqm and VitrA Tiles’ total capacity, including operations in Germany and Russia, to 30 million sqm. The new plant has created 83 new jobs, increasing the total number of employees at the Bozüyük site to 1080. The new line also enhances the design potential of the company, which is already well positioned in the premium and luxury segments with its VitrA and Villeroy & Boch brands.

VitrA Tiles CEO Hasan Pehlivan commented:

“With this new plant, we are expanding in large-format porcelain tile production, a fast-growing category of our target markets in Europe. We will also use digital technologies to create visually striking products with highly realistic marble and stone effects.”

The new line also offers outstanding potential in terms of artificial intelligence and energy efficiency. Its energy consumption is 15% lower than existing VitrA Tiles production lines, while modern AI technologies (digital sensors, algorithms, etc.) allow the data flow to be used to minimise the number of products with manufacturing defects.

“This has enabled us to lower the average level of production waste from 8% to 3.5% and we are continuing to work towards an even lower ratio,” commented Pehlivan. “Our plan is to extend the use of Industry 4.0 type applications to all our production lines.”

As well as starting up the new production plant, VitrA Tiles has also invested in further improving the efficiency of the Bozüyük site. In line with its sustainability goals, the company has improved the energy efficiency of its existing kilns by 4% and is ready to replace the first two kilns installed at the site with more efficient technology.

With the aim of reducing its carbon footprint, VitrA Tiles will install solar panels on the roof of the new plant by the autumn, enabling it to convert 7% of its energy consumption to green energy. The company has the Turkish Standards Institute’s Double Star certification and was the first Turkish tile producer to receive the EU Ecolabel environmental label.

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