Voltas Limited is present in the textile industry for over six decades and is probably the single most valuable resource supporting the industry as well. It represents more than 30 Principals, offering end-to-end products and solutions across the gamut of spinning and post-spinning needs. These alliances have not only helped Textile Machinery Division (TMD) of Voltas Limited to offer the state-of-the-art technologies to the market but also services that go beyond the customer expectations.
C Kamatchisundaram, Vice President – TMD, Voltas Limited, speaks with ITJ on the various Principals of the company and its offerings for the Indian market.
Excerpts...Presently, which are the areas in our country experiencing spurt in investment in spinning? To what extent is Voltas associated with upcoming projects in spinning?
The investments are happening more in the West because of the policies the States have put in place in the last 10 years. Gujarat was leading in the last five years because of the attractive Gujarat policy. Investors have started looking at Maharashtra as an additional attractive destination. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan also have their own textile policies, which are also quite attractive and offer maximum investment opportunities. In short, the States in the west are leading the investment.
Besides the above, in the South, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have also released attractive textile policies which are expected to spurt investments in these States going forward.
This does not mean that there are no investments taking place in other leading States, including Tamil Nadu and Punjab. Investors in Tamil Nadu and Punjab are highly enterprising in nature. For any organisation to sustain in the volatile market, the plant has to be modernised and kept up to date. Hence there is a significant focus on modernization in these states.
Our key Principals in the spinning industry is Lakshmi Machine Works (LMW), who is a leader in spinning machinery industry. Our Principals LMW is the leading player in facilitating investments in spinning. Our market share is close to 60 per cent, which means around 60 per cent of the investment in this industry takes place through equipment manufactured by our Principals, i.e., LMW. So, LMW play a major role in all the upcoming projects in spinning. In fact, there are many projects in the country where the 100 per cent of equipment used is from LMW. Even in the upcoming projects, there are quite a number of companies using 100 per cent equipment from our Principals LMW.Spinning technology is now into Industry 4.0. What are Voltas’ offering in this area through its principals?
The Industry 4.0 is a very generic term. If you have to classify the activities that go in to Industry 4.0, then it is automation, which includes robotics. The second part is monitoring the equipment, which includes predictive analysis and networking and use of big data for improvement. The third part in Industry 4.0 is how we make the business transaction happen leveraging technology to reduce the cycle time of purchase and to enhance the purchasing experience. These could be online quote generation, online order placement, online tracking of the orders, etc. I would classify Industry 4.0 under these three functions.
Our Principal, LMW, has been a front runner in offering Industry 4.0 solutions. In fact, LMW was the first to offer automation for Ring Frames, Speed Frames and automatic transport of material from the Blowroom to the Carding machine. Automation has become an integral part of the spinning industry today. If a spinning industry is not invested in automation, it is going to be difficult to sustain, going forward.
I would like to share an example. In the past, 60 per cent of the ring spinning machine delivered from our Principal (LMW) used to be a normal Ring Frame without automation; but today, the trend has reversed. Almost 95 per cent of the Ring Frame delivered is only with automation, irrespective of whether the machinery is supplied to a mega project or a small project.
As you know, availability of labour is a major problem. Labour can be divided into two segments: skilled labours and unskilled labours. Shortage of labour is in both the cases. This has made the industry to look at automation as a solution. It is not something which is good to have, but it is something that is a must.
In monitoring and controlling the equipment through IoT, here too, LMW offers networking of the entire plant. Sitting is one place, the Manager can check the production of the plant Monitoring power is the key to control cost. The current state of IoT allows the investors to monitor the power consumption as well.
Our Principal had launched a portal called ‘e-spares’ almost a decade back. When this portal was launched, the customers were quite apprehensive to use it in the beginning. As we explained the customers and trained them on the usage of this portal, the benefit of this has been very well understood by various set of people in the plant. Today, almost 80 per cent of the orders for the Parts take place through this portal. Through this portal, customers can develop the quote and place the order themselves. Once the order is placed, within quick time they get the acceptance of order, and the sales process gets completed much faster. This has also enabled to increase our delivery performance. I am very proud to say that our Principals is able to supply any Part within 7-10 days time, which used to take a longer time in the past. This portal is very user friendly and most used portal by the industry.
Voltas is available in the entire textile value chain. We have partnered with global leading players in post spinning too. Our Principals in PSD also offer the features of Industry 4.0 For eg: our another Principals, Brueckner offer ‘e-Shop’. Our Principal, Efi Reggiani, who is into digital printing, can access digital printing machine remotely from their plant. For any issue on the machine, they can offer solution through remote monitoring system.In post-spinning, knitting is a major area for Voltas with giants like Terrot and Shima Seiki portfolios? What are the USPs of these knitting technologies available for the Indian industry?
We represent Terrot for circular knitting and Shima Seiki for computerized flat knitting machine. As you know, both are market leaders in their respective segments.,
The major USP of Terrot machine is that it is made by a company, which is in the industry for the last 150 years. You can imagine the extent of knowledge this company would carry to offer to the end customers. Terrot has the capability to offer the entire range of circular knitting machines –single jersey, double jersey and machines meant for technical applications. The USPs are productivity, quality, user friendliness and the longevity of the machines. If you take the customer voice, the customer would always rate Terrot right at the top. You can find Terrot machines as old as 30-35 years still working in the industry without any problem.
Shima Seiki is way above other players in the flat knitting industry. Flat knitting technology is relatively new for the Indian textile industry. These machines are used to make winter sweaters / collars in the past. Shima Seiki from Japan has taken flat knitting to the next level. It is identified more as a machine for creating high fashion garments. Shima Seiki offers various models in the flat knitting itself, which enables the customers to make panels with endless possibilities of design. In addition, Shima Seiki is the first to offer the whole garment making machinery for the industry. As you know, the garment is made by cutting and stitching, and it calls for a lot of labour. This machine eliminates the usage of these processes. The garment is made directly from the yarn from endless number of designs and colours. Even the design of the buyer can be adopted in the machine very easily and quickly The latest trend is to make sports shoes with textiles on top. Shima Seiki is the only machine which can seamlessly make the required shoe upper directly from the yarn without any cutting and stitching.In processing, Thies and Bruckner are giants. What do they have presently in offer for the Indian market, and how have these been faring in India?
As I said earlier, we represent global leaders. Our mission is to be always among the top two in every product that we offer. That is why we have partnerships with LMW in spinning, and Terrot and Shima Seiki in knitting. In Processing too we represent only global leaders. Thies is the global leader in soft flow dyeing machines. Exactly about 10 years back, we partnered with them and enabled Thies to become the market leader in the Indian textile industry. The Knitted garment manufacturers in Tirupur, Ludhiana, Kolkata etc., who wants to produce high quality fabrics meant for export market or for the upper end of the domestic industry always prefer Thies as their first choice.
We also have a very good installed base of Thies machinery in each and every Knitting cluster. USP of this machine is the dyeing quality, consistency, repeatability, low liquor consumption, and high level of user friendliness. The consistent quality of the fabrics produced from Thies machine does not vary irrespective of whether it is a new machine or a 10-year-old machine.
Brueckner is called as the Mercedes in finishing – not only in terms of looks but also in terms of deliverables. We have supplied Brueckner machines in the knitted segment, woven segment and also in the technical textile segment. Brueckner is the only company which can produce stenter with a width of 6 metres. Normally, the width of fabric used for classical textiles is either 1.8 m or 3.2 m in width, but the Stenter needed for technical textiles is as wide as 6 m.
So when it comes to finishing in knits or woven / technical textiles, Brueckner is the undisputed leader. The major USP is the consistent quality. Anyone who wants to finish the fabric with lycra in it, the first and only choice will always be Brueckner. We have a lot of installations of Brueckner machines in Tirupur, Kolkata and Ludhiana, which are the clusters for knitted fabrics. We have also made huge in-roads in the woven segment. Almost every major player in the woven segment has the equipment from Brueckner. We have Brueckner machines in Vardhman, Arvind, Morarjee, Indo Count, to name a few.
Brueckner is also known beyond stenters. They also have a product called “Power Colortherm”, which enables the customers to do continuous dyeing of the cotton fabric as well as polyester cotton fabrics. Brueckner also offers sanforisers and relax dryers. The product portfolio of Brueckner is quite rich. Wherever we have supplied Brueckner machines, we have always received repeat orders.
Another company that we represent in this field is Benninger, which is into continuous dyeing. Benninger is the undisputed leader in continuous dyeing. Each and every leading player in the woven segment is doing continuous dyeing mainly with the Benninger machines. Benninger machines are known for absolute consistency in dyeing. In processing and finishing, the value loss is a key measure. Value loss is the rejection or the wastage. By using Benninger machine, the value loss will be almost negligible and conversion from lab to bulk is also done accurately. Obviously, if you speak of productivity and longevity, these machines are way above the other. How do you select your partners?
Our principal selection process is very stringent. Voltas belong to the Tata Group and has a very good track record of more than 6 decades. We have a good reach, as we are present in each and every textile cluster in the country. We have branches in 16 different locations across the country ; hence, whenever any global leader wants to enter India, their first choice would be obviously Voltas. However, we also do a lot of due diligence both in identifying and selecting the right partner. This has enabled us to be with the global leaders.
Digital printing has come of age, and Efi Reggiani is extending its reach in India. What are the scope and prospects of it playing a big role in the Indian textile industry, with its various new products?
Digital printing has evolved. The trend has shifted from investing in a plotter to a digital printing machine. Efi Reggiani was one of the first to roll out an industrial printing machine to the textile industry. It is almost 10 years, since we have offered this product to the Indian textile industry. Initially the technology absorption was quite slow, but for the last five years, the interest on digital printing machinery has gone up manifold. The global level reports reveal that digital printing industry is growing at the rate of more than 20-25 per cent per year. It is going to replace all types of printing including rotary printing. Even in digital printing there are many other suppliers but the installed base we have in this country for industrial printing machine is one of the highest. Over the last 3-4 years, we have installed more than 50 machines in the country. From each and every customer we keep getting repeat orders.
Digital printing started off in the furnishing industry. When you want to furnish the house you want to make the house very colourful, and digital printers helped in creating endless number of colours and the sharpness of the prints is also very different and much superior to other printing technologies. But now the technology is slowly getting adopted in other areas. Home textiles was the next to absorb. We have installations working in leading home textile producers. Now the knitting industry has also started absorbing the digital printers. It’s only a matter of time, when digital printers will be there in each and every segment of the industry.
The biggest advantage of the digital printing machine is the speed in which you can convert a design into a product. In the inkjet printing space, Efi Reggiani is the global leader, which offer digital printing machine in both narrow width and wider width. We have machines which can print with reactive inks and disperse inks and the latest offering is with pigments. Our Principals are also launching the “Single Pass Machine” very shortly.Please list with some of the advantages that the Special Services that Voltas offers to the textile industry? Give also a background of the marketing & sales and services set-up of Voltas.
In the textile industry, service means installing and servicing the machine, and addressing the complaints of the customer. These are hygiene services.
Indian textile industry went through a lot of difficulties. There were many pain areas that the customers faced for which they were looking for solutions from other stakeholders. Here we saw as an opportunity to reinforce long relationship with the customers.
We offer special services to all our customers. We have a bouquet of special services, which deliver outcomes related to the productivity, quality, power conservation and the recurring cost. Special services are well received by our customers. We have carved out a service team into two different teams – one offers hygiene services, while the other offers only special services.
There is a very good level of acceptance, but this calls for skilled people. So, we are moving forward in a steady manner but with clear thoughts. We are slowly scaling up our special services.What are the new strategies Voltas has on anvil to strengthen its Textile Machinery Division?
Our first and foremost strategy is always to increase the market share in each and every product we offer. The second strategy is to reinforce the relationship with the customers so that the customers look at Voltas as the first choice, irrespective of whether it is a capital machinery or After sales product / service. While the capital machinery supplied is to create a new project or an expansion project, the after sales products enables us to be with the customer throughout the life cycle of the product. This enables us to significantly enhance and reinforce our long term relationship with our customers.
The third strategy is to grow in the Post Spinning segment in line with the market opportunities. We also would be continuously scanning the market, both for new opportunities as well for new partners.
"Our first and foremost strategy is always to increase the market share in each and every product we offer.”