By- B Swaminathan
Mumbai based A.T.E. Enterprises Private Limited handles its own products and also those of other reputed companies in the domains of textile engineering, cooling, solar heating, wastewater management, flow technology, print and packaging solutions and industrial Internet of Things (IoT). The textile engineering leader is present in the market from the pre-independence era. A.T.E. and its principals are planning to launch a slew of innovative products in the forthcoming ITMA 2019. In an exclusive chat with Textile Value Chain, G. V. Aras and other key executives of his team discuss the current trends in the market, expectations from the government, and innovations expected in the much-awaited event in Barcelona.
G V Aras, Director, Textile Engineering Group, A.T.E. Enterprises, said that textile is one of the important sectors in a policy perspective. The central or state governments cannot ignore textile as a sector in view of its employment and export potential. “In India, the textile sector provides the highest employment after agriculture. The garment making sector holds good potential for women’s employment, and thus helps in women’s empowerment, which is one of the objectives of our government”, said Aras.
Even though India stands in the second position in global trade in textiles next to China, the gap between the two countries is quite huge. To cite an example of how India miss opportunities, Aras pointed that when many companies from China moved their production to Vietnam, some of the business pie was taken by Bangladesh, but India failed to grab any share of this business and thus missed a great chance.
Key expectations from the Government:
Speaking on the expectations from the new government, Aras said, “With the new government now in place, the textile industry expects that the existing schemes and policies will continue. The growth engine of the textile industry in China. Vietnam, and Bangladesh, has been apparel, unlike in India where the garment sector is fragmented and hence has not grown. The government should come up with policies for encouraging investment in the creation of bigger garment manufacturing capacities. This would also need skill development of workers and managers.”
“Majority of the global business happens in synthetics and blends whereas India still has a dominance of cotton in the product mix. If India wants to increase its share in the global market, it must move towards synthetics and blends in the product mix and for this to happen the government should support the synthetic fibre and filament industry”, continued Aras.
Aras pointed out that India is quite strong in spinning with 26% of the yarn export share in the world. However, the weaving and processing segments not being as strong, it cannot take advantage of value addition. At present, 70% of the fabric production comes from the powerloom sector, which is often not export-worthy. Hence, technology upgradation is badly needed in weaving followed by processing.
Continuing the discussion, Aras stated further that many state governments have already come up with good textile policies and these policies should continue in order to attract investors.
About the Bangladesh market:
Bangladesh has made a strong foothold in the textile segment as their economy itself is dependent on textile exports. Though Bangladesh is importing even the raw material, they are very cost efficient in manufacturing across the value chain, which has made them one of the leading players in garments and denims. Even the government is very supportive to the textile industry as it contributes 70% to the country’s export basket and employs a huge workforce in garment making.
Speaking on the major developments that will be trending during the forthcoming ITMA, Aras said that automation will be the most expected trend during the show. “Another major development that we expect to happen at ITMA is the discussions and dialogues around smart technologies. With Industry 4.0 in place, we will be witnessing a lot of machines with smart capabilities with the application of artificial intelligence, IoT, and digitalization, etc.” said Aras.
Concluding the discussion, Aras said “I also foresee smart textiles to play an important role especially in the industries like health care, defence, etc.”
Textile Value Chain also received detailed feedback from the Business Heads of the Textile Engineering Group of A.T.E. to know their views on ITMA 2019.
“ITMA this time will be a key avenue for India both for buyers as well as sellers. Although the market seems sluggish, we could see a huge momentum around the processing sector especially in home textiles and apparel textiles. Knit segment is growing steadily and it is expected that many processors will switch over from tubular form processing to open width. Also, we expect that the knit market will move towards active wear production.”
“We also think that the terry towel manufacturers will be looking for flatbed printing machine for printing higher repeat sizes. We can also see a definite trend towards digital printing technology using pigment ink.”
“According to me, this ITMA 2019 will be around Industry 4.0, 3-D fabric and virtual studio, and there will be a major focus on innovation to increase productivity. In the denim segment, there is a new concept called ‘green dyeing’ which is expected to be trending at the show.”
“I foresee that as a part of Industry 4.0, the spindle monitoring system will receive a lot of attention as it will provide immediate benefits to mills like optimum utilisation of workers resulting in increased productivity. Another area of focus will be upgradation of roving frames and ring frames with drafting and energy efficient spindles which will help in improving yarn quality, reduce operational cost, and reduce maintenance.”
“The most pressing challenges faced by the spinning industry are fluctuating raw material, non-availability of manpower, and the high cost of energy. The spinners look for intelligent technologies which give the highest productivity and are energy efficient. The spinning industry also look for digital monitoring and management systems.”
“In the coming years the spinners will shift slowly towards synthetic fibres and value added products. Airjet spinning technology will continue to grow in importance in the future due to the improved performance of airjet yarn in knitting and weaving.”
“While the textile industry has taken a lot of measures for wastewater recycling due to increased environmental awareness and stringent norms, the solid waste or sludge generated in the treatment process remains an area of concern. It is becoming increasingly difficult as well as expensive for industries to dispose off sludge due to lack of disposal space or facilities. This problem will only become more acute going forward. Industries will have to modify their wastewater treatment process to purely biological based treatment to ensure that the sludge generated is also biological in nature. Biological sludge when dried has very good calorific value and is easy for disposal/reuse. Innovative processes like solar sludge drying to achieve > 80% dryness will be more in focus given the abundance of solar radiation in India”.
“As machines become old, they become less efficient and are prone to frequent break-downs, due to the obsolete electronic components like variable frequency drives, PLCs, HMIs, etc. Automation by incorporating new technology components in these old machines result in improving productivity, quality of the output, and less human errors. In today’s competitive world, maximising efficiency of machines and processes is the key to success.”
“At A.T.E. we have a new team for automation and up-gradation which will be catering to up-gradation of machinery in weaving preparation, processing, synthetics. Besides, we also offer fancy yarn attachment, FancySpin, for ring spinning, and indigo dosing system for denim yarn dyeing.”