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Trade Talk | October 2016

A long way to go, Dr Kavita Gupta tells ITTA

“In technical textiles, we are doing something, but not enough. There is a long journey, but we have not even started it. We have just only 2200 units in technical textiles in this whole big country. Even in the nine textile research associations, which have been entrusted with the tasks of Centres of Excellence, not much has been done. We need a lot more efforts,” the first few sentences from the Textile Commissioner, Dr Kavita Gupta, set the tone for the 6th Annual General Meeting and the Knowledge Sharing Session of the Indian Technical Textile Association, held at the Mumbai Cricket Association, BKC in Mumbai recently.

To create the tempo for manufacturing for the industry, and generate market demand for the technical textiles should be our main focus. The industry can be promoted by bringing in joint ventures with technology transfers from abroad and also by innovating with the assistance of TRAs, she said. “We have potential, but we are far back.

In textile industry, the contribution of technical textiles is only 10 per cent of which 5 to 6 per cent is packaging, which cannot be considered as real technical textiles.

So, the real share is just 4 to 5 per cent. But in Germany, the proportion of technical textiles constitute 70 per cent,” Dr Gupta said.

Said Dr Gupta: “The demand is already there and has been growing fast. For instance, for geotextiles, as seen in the north-east region, the demand has been created by the Government. The road experiments have proved successful and this year, more seminars and awareness campaigns are being conducted on pan-India basis. The Government has earmarked special funds to promote geotextiles.

In the same way, agrotextiles have also picked up in a major way.The Agriculture Universities and the Ministry are being roped in to give a boost to agrotextiles. Medical textiles is another area, where there is an increase of interest in using medical textiles by Government and private hospitals.”

With good GDP growth, technical textiles is bound to grow by a CAGR of 20 per cent till 2025. But right now, the CAGR is around only 9 to 10 per cent. The Textile Commissioner made it very clear that the ball is in the industry’s court. “If we want to win Olympics, we have to remove the crutches and run. But still the Government will support since the technical textiles is a sunrise industry. We are fighting for the HSN Codes and the incorporation of 387 items as technical textiles,” she said. The Government is keen that the industry woo joint ventures and pump in more investment, she said.

Earlier, Dr Anup Rakshit, Executive Director of ITTA, introduced the association and enumerated its success story in the last couple of years.

In his address, Pramod Khosla, Chairman of ITTA, thanked all the members for their participation in the seminars organised the previous year for defence and navy, where the demand for technical textile products was demonstrated. Underlining the huge demand that exists within the country itself for various products, Khosla explained how much demand for medical textiles, geotextiles, agrotextiles and protective textiles has been growing tremendously in the country. Khosla lamented the fact that the HSN Code issue for technical textiles is still hanging fire. He thanked Dr Gupta for the tremendous support and encouragement that we have been receiving from Textile Commissioner Office and the Government for ITTA.

ITTA is associated with the Government in its various programmes/schemes like A-TUFS, base line survey of technical textiles industry, formulation of textile policy, TMTT implementation, etc. Khosla wished that the endeavor of the association is to become the EPC for technical textiles and establishing a separate identity for technical textile products and articles. He highlighted what technical textile industry and ITTA have achieved during last year, i.e., increased capital subsidy from 10 to 15 per cent for all technical textile under A-TUFS, reduction in import duties on eight speciality fibres into India, movement on HSN code issue, improved focus of armed forces towards Indian manufacturing companies of technical textiles, etc. With the advent of various programmes initiated by the Government of India (like Make In India, Agrotextiles and Geotextiles promotion in NER States, etc) it is expected to have an impetus on growth of technical textile industry. He is also confident of larger contribution of ITTA to the growth of the industry.

In his address, Dr KS Sundaraman, Vice Chairman, said that ITTA is a small fledgling compared to bigger associations like Texprocil and CITI. He underscored the growing importance of technical textiles in the scheme of things and also the existence of good demand for the products.

In the Knowledge Sharing Session, there were three presentations as follows:

  • Indian Diapers Market -- Current Scenario and Emerging Trends by Kamal Johari, Managing Director, Nobel Hygiene.
  • High Performance Fibres & Yarns Used in Technical Textiles by Dr Anjan K Mukhopadhyay, Director, BTRA.
  • Technical Textiles -- Solutions from Yarn to Fabric by Atul Vaidya, Oerlikon India.

“Total Solutions: From Melt to Yarn, Fibers and Nonwovens” was presented by Atul Vaidya, Oerlikon India. He highlighted about the drive systems of man-made fibres from melt to yarn, fibres and nonwovens. He emphasised about the solutions and different technologies used in PET polycondensation plant, monofilament extrusion lines, spunbond lines. He briefed about the application of industrial yarn (IDY) such as tyre cord, geotextiles, V-belts, hoses, sewing threads, etc. and the working principle of industrial yarn spinning. The global nonwoven consumption represents 43 per cent for hygiene applications and 57 per cent for technical applications and nonwoven has a higher growth rates in technical applications. He also spoke on production capacity of high performance nonwoven applications like Bitumen roofing substrate, underlayment roofing membrane, geotextile nonwoven, etc. and PET geotextiles is a benchmark which has improved strength and higher growth rate.

Kamal Kumar Johari, MD, Nobel Hygiene, presented an interesting topic know as “Indian Diaper Market: Current Scenario and the Emerging Trend”. Nobel Hygiene is a market leader in the adult diaper segment and also enlightened the audience with the other products the company offers such as baby diapers know as “Teddyy”.

He also spoke the unspoken stating that this industry has a blooming edge since the market is growing by 25 per cent year-on-year basis. He expressed his view stating that he majorly faced a big challenge since the diapers are imported to India from the nearby countries are priced much less than the ones produced in India leading to unhealthy competition, so seeks help from the Government on India to protect domestic industry.

Dr Anjan K Mukhopadhyay, Director, BTRA, presented the topic on “High Performance Fibres and Yarns used in Technical textiles”. He briefed about the high performance fibres, which are used in technical textiles. He explained the importance, properties and application of different high performance fibres such as aramid, carbon, chemically resistant and thermally-resistant fibres. He also talked about the speciality fibres like PVDF, PVF, FEP, PEEK and Polybenzimidazole (PBI) fibres. The problems faced by the industries during the import of these speciality fibres like customs duty, import duty, etc.

Amit Agarwal, Secretary, ITTA, proposed a vote of thanks. Agarwal thanked all the Directors, members and invitees who were present. He specially thanked the resource persons for making the presentations.

Smart textiles potential to touch $130 bn

Smart textiles are creating a fourth industrial revolution for the textiles and fashion industry worth over US$ 130 billion by 2025, according to the recent report from technology consultancy Cientifica. Advances in fields such as nanotechnology are creating a range of textile–based technologies with the ability to sense and react to the world around them. According to Cientifica, the rapid adoption of smart textile technologies has the ability to make the current generation of wearables from Apple and Samsung quickly obsolete, while providing significant opportunities in the sportswear market.

Advances in fields such as nanotechnology, organic electronics and conducting polymers are creating a range of textile–based technologies with the ability to sense and react to the world around them. This includes monitoring biometric data such as heart rate and respiration, or environmental factors such as temperature and the presence of toxic gases. These textiles also have the ability to provide real time feedback in the form of haptic feedback, changes in colour, temperature or electrical stimuli.

The report identifies three distinct generations of textile wearable technologies. First generation is where a sensor is attached to apparel, second generation products embed the sensor in the garment and in third generation wearables the garment is the sensor. The report identifies third generation wearables as representing a significant opportunity for new and established textile companies to add significant value without having to directly compete with Apple, Samsung and Intel.

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