Technical Textile has massive untapped possibilities, challenge is lack of awareness

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Interview with Michael Jänecke, Director Brand Management Technical Textiles & Textile Processing, Messe Frankfurt GmbH during TechTextil 2019

What factors are responsible for driving investments in nonwovens and technical textiles in India?

Everything started mid of 2000, the government supported companies in traditional textiles to get into technical textiles. In the beginning there were basic technology investments. The technology and machinery required to produce technical textiles is different from those used in home textiles. I think in a good way the production capacity is increasing. But there are still companies on the edge moving into technical textiles. Based on the discussions with visitors, exhibitors, and speakers at the symposium the question is which direction to move in to see where the market and which products is are in demand and upscaling the production.

What potential does India hold for technical textiles? Which are the top three application areas?

India has immense potential. The basic decisions that companies and manufacturers need to take is which direction do they want to go ahead with, which product niches, whether they want to produce for the domestic or international markets. The international market possesses a growing demand whereas the domestic one needs push and stimulation, which takes a while. But I hope more Indian companies visit our TechTextil shows in Frankfurt, Germany and Atlanta, US to understand the trends, finding a partner for collaboration, consumption patterns and potential markets.

What is the key theme and highlight of the 7th edition of the fair?

The focus is on sustainability. The discussions at the symposium were also around sustainability. When it comes to machinery, it is always about having low power consumption and wastewater management. People expect it along with Industry 4.0. On the material side it is more complex.

Please tell us a little about Hackathon being launched at Techtextil India. How many start-ups are part of it? Can you share details about a few path-breaking ideas?

We are introducing the Hackathon for technical textiles for the first time at TechTextil India. The setting is done by my colleagues and partners in India. There are about 10 start-ups participating. It has proved to be a great platform for interaction and mutual sharing of versatile experiences concerning the current condition of the industry. 

What are the challenges or major bottlenecks that the Indian technical textile and nonwoven industry faces?

Technical textiles hold massive untapped possibilities as lack of awareness is one of the biggest challenges in this industry. We would also need more support from the government to help develop better quality products in the future. Lack of investments in the research and development (R&D) for technical textiles is another interruption that slows down the overall all progress.

What are the major trends expected in the technical textile and nonwoven niches globally?

As I mentioned earlier, in the coming years, the transition to sustainable raw materials or composites for manufacturing technical textiles will be the biggest trend. Energy efficient machinery to reduce pollution and increase production will also help the industry grow from strength to strength.