Technical textiles is a passion for me, said Anuj Bhagwati, Managing Director of A.T.E. Group once. The Mumbai-based group has been proving that this newly-emerging sector of textile industry is more than a passion to it. As early as 1996, A.T.E. Entered nonwovens, but investment interest was less than a trickle. But in the last two years, technical textile has stirred a palpable attention from the industry. It has slowly & steadily put a strong foundation, and has emerged as the only company in India with capabilities to offer the entire range of technologies to set up technical textile greenfield projects.
GV Aras, Director of A.T.E., a very affable man but with a deeper knowledge of affairs of his company, spoke to the Editor of The ITJ in an exclusive interview on the technologies and machinery and A.T.E.´s strength in technical textiles. Excerpts...
Editor: What are the present capabilities of the A.T.E. Group in technical textiles?
GV Aras (GVA): A.T.E. is the only company that covers all the verticals in technical textiles. We are in woven, circular & warp knitting, and nonwoven for technical textiles. In nowoven, we cover spunbond, spunlace, needle-punching and all. In processing also, which is very important, technical textiles need proper functional treatments. For instance, coating and lamination. We provide one-window solutions for any technical textile project. We work with very advanced technology providers from Europe, who have long experience.
Editor: When did A.T.E. Group enter the technical textile field?
GVA: A.T.E. really had been in the field of technical textiles for a very long time. It was in 90s A.T.E. made its entry. But that time, business in technical textiles was not much at all. It was in paper felts that we began with for some companies. That time this nonwoven concept was not prevalent. Really speaking, industry started talking about technical textiles only about 10 years back. Only after infrastructure started picking up in India, technical textiles like geotextiles and geosynthetics started getting attention. This happened only four years ago and even after these years, geotextiles has not attained its potential because there is no mandatory norms to promote it like in foreign countries. If this is done by the Government, geotextiles demand has the potential to go up 10 times. In India, the concept of disposables is having a very slow growth, and hence its potential is still untapped. But because export scope for wipes is very good, there has been some activities in this area. Another area which is showing signs of growing fast is filtration. This filtration field´s growth will continue since many companies have invested in this. Some growth has happened in spunbond, which is a cheap material. This is a low margin business and only small industries are involved and with Chinese machines, which are cheaper. Medical textiles is another area expected to grow faster since disposables are getting promoted in hospitals, hotels, etc. Nonwoven is packaging is becoming popular because it it is light and cheap material. Unless the consumption of technical textiles gets a boost, it will be a long way for this industry. Other fields showing promise are automotive textiles and protective textiles.
Editor: Which are the areas that will have a faster growth in technical textiles?
GVA: I think coating and lamination is an area, which will have tremendous potential in India. Because functionality of any fabric will increase or decrease depending on the various types of coating and lamination. This is a very important and fast growing area for the technical textile industry.
Editor: Can you throw some light on the technology providers that A.