Established in 1976, Garware-Wall Ropes Limited (GWRL) was started in collaboration with Wall Industries Inc, USA. GWRL, an ISO 9001:2008 certified company. It is a leading player in technical textiles specialising in providing customised solutions to the cordage and infrastructure industry worldwide. The company is known for its innovation in the field of sports, fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, coated fabrics and geosynthetics. The products are manufactured in state-of-art facilities at Wai and Pune (Maharashtra) and marketed in over 75 countries worldwide.
In an exclusive interaction with the ITJ’s Senior Sub Editor, Karthik Muthuveeran, SV Raut, President – Technical & New Businesses, GWRL, speaks on the market of technical textiles in India and the various products offered by GWRL in this field.
Since its inception, how has your company fared all along its growth phase and what was the turning point when it took off?
Since inception in 1976, we as a company have focused on application-based solutions. Our core objective has always been to deliver value to our customers through our products. Be it any segment related to ropes, nets, etc, we have always laid emphasis on innovation. This aided by our manufacturing excellence as well as customer-focused approach have led us to be leaders in each of the categories that we operate.
While there have been many turning points in our journey over the last 40 years, our foray into international markets would be a major one. Competing against established players and winning in these markets is something that we treasure.
How big is the market of technical textiles in India? What are its prospects & problems?
Globally, the technical textiles market is estimated at $130 billion. In India, it would be approximately $12-13 billion. India holds out tremendous potential for the growth of technical textiles and with adequate focus, innovation and investments, India can increase its share of the global technical textile market.
India could well become one the biggest manufacturer of technical textiles for the global market replacing China. While the ‘Make in India’ initiative by the Government comes in as a huge welcome initiative, more support likes incentives for new projects, export sales, innovation ramp up etc needs to be looked at so as to make our products much more lucrative for the international markets.
The benefit to customers through differentiated application focused products is immense. But, this takes time to foster given the pre importance attached to price in India. However, we see the trend changing wherein customers are willing to adopt newer products which deliver value to them.
What are the latest product offerings for the Indian and global markets?
Innovation is the core driving force of all that we do. We have many products which are in the pipeline and see them as game changers going forward. Recent products that we have launched and seen tremendous traction are X2 range of ropes and STAR net aquaculture cages. The X2 range of ropes result in significantly lower weight with enhanced strength resulting in easier handling across various applications like mooring and transmission.
STAR Aquaculture cages are polyolefin-based products, which result in easier cleaning and reduced anti fouling coating for the global aquaculture market. These products lead to reduced cost for customers and cultivation of organic fish.
What differentiates your products from that of your competitors?
Our mission is all about delivering value to customers through differentiated products. As a process, we understand the stated and unstated needs of our customers and work on new age products, which are unique in their value delivery. Customer centricity, a strong R&D team and stringent quality focused manufacturing processes have made our products stand out and deliver unique benefits to our customers. Needless to say, this has aided the business of our customers and thereby ours too.
What are the challenges faced in the industry that you are in?
As outlined earlier, the rate of adoption of new age products takes time. Also, some of the Asian countries are more inclined to play the commodity card based on price. Both these factors are leading to a slower growth of the industry worldwide. With respect to India, stronger rules and regulations on various applications as prevalent in developed economies like USA, Europe etc would aid in increasing the penetration of value added technical textile products. For example, agriculture is a big contributor to India’s economy. However, age old farming practices have not aided our productivity versus what is seen in many other countries. Herein, an impetus on protected cultivation would increase the yield by three to seven times. Just imagine the impact it would have on the economy overall.
Is the technology being used imported or indigenous?
Since many of the categories in technical textiles are at a developed stage in the European and American markets, there are good machine manufacturers in these countries. Hence, by and large, most of the machinery is imported. However, what is indigenous to India will be its strong scientific pool. This will be our strength to leapfrog competitors in other countries. We at GWRL have proven it quite often through our products which have market leadership status in many of the countries globally.
How do you think is R&D important for Indian technical textile sector in the current scenario? What is GWRL’s contribution in this?
As outlined earlier, R&D will be the key cornerstone for Indian technical textiles sector to make a mark globally. As a company, innovation is our core focus and this is the key driver for our growth. We have tie ups with many research institutions in India and international markets wherein we work on projects which can lead to path breaking products for the future.
What will be the impact of GST on the textile industry?
GST will make the tax structures easier to understand, implement and also lead to faster movement of goods across the country. This also could spur more investments in India by international manufacturers. This is bound to aid the growth in the manufacturing sector overall and also imbibe new technologies in this technical textile space.
What is your wish-list for the Government and the industry to give a boost to the Indian textile industry to scale new heights in production and exports?
The government is taking a lot of initiatives to boost the manufacturing sector as well as easing of processes. They are addressing various aspects in a comprehensive manner and we are hopeful that all these initiatives will augur well for the growth of technical textiles and make India a key destination as well as a supplier to other countries.
How do you look at the future of technical textile in India?
We see a very bright future for the technical textile industry here. Apart from increasing the domestic market size, we also see India being a key supplier to satisfy the requirements of the global market. Increased adoption of newer manufacturing and technological processes, impetus by the government on growth of the industry augur well for the growth of technical textiles in India. Importantly, customers are more demanding and appreciative of value delivering differentiated products.
I envisage that in the near future, India would act as a fulcrum for the growth of technical textiles globally.