Shri S. Chakrabarty Secretary General Textile Machinery Manufacturers’ Association (India)

The Textile Engineering Industry (TEI) in India is almost 8 decades old. The history of textiles and textile machinery is very closely interlinked to the history of India. The great Indian charka is a symbol of India’s struggle for independence. Today it has modified itself into a large spinning industry as well as spinning machinery manufacturing industry. The industrial revolution in 18th century led to the development of textile machinery and textile industry in Europe which came to India in 19th century. The textile machinery production in India started in 1937 but it came into its own only in the 1950s onwards.

Over this long journey the industry has created a capacity of Rs. 9,350 crore while the total investment could be around Rs. 7,800 crore. There are over 1,400 units in the industry employing over 2,50,000 workers directly or indirectly. It is exporting 20-25% of its production to over 60 countries including some industrially advanced ones.

The TEI always suffered to a great extent due to the periodic bad condition of the India Textile Industry. Lack of consistent demand has forced the industry to reduce its production.The production data of the TEI during the last nine years (given below) would be a testimony to the above fact

(Figures in Rs. crore]

The periodic recession coupled with global recession has hampered the growth of the TEI to a large extent. It is yet to achieve the target of Rs. 10,000 crore as set by the XI Plan. The liberalization of the industrial and trade policies during 1991-92 had severely affected the capital goods sector specifically the TEI. The Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme introduced by the Government in 1999 for the Textile Industry created a good investment climate which forced the textile machinery manufacturers to increase their capacity to a considerable extent to meet the rising demand of the textile industry. However, the global recession during 2007-08 and the subsequent years had a great impact on the sustainability of the TEI. It is not clear when it would be possible for the TEI to grow again at a faster pace as it happened during 2003-04 to 2007-08.

Technology/Capacity:

  1. Ginning & Spinning: The entire range of Spinning machinery manufactured in India, including ginning machinery, blow room machinery, cards, draw frame, combers, speed frame, ring frame, ancillary machinery, two for one twisting and auto-cone winding machines and parts and accessories, in general, are at par with international standards.

In ginning there are innovations to control the contamination in cotton by reducing human handling, maintaining humidity in pala houses and bins, auto feeding etc. There are 5/6 manufacturers in ginning.

  • Capacity of ginning machinery is adequate and there are exports and practically no imports.
  • There is adequate capacity in spinning. The total capacity of Ginning and Spinning is Rs. 5,000 crore. It meets over 75% of domestic requirement. In the coming years, it is likely to meet 90% of the requirement. There are domestic as well as foreign players. The technological gap is minimal. In term of spindles, the total capacity is approximately 6.5 million. Unfortunately the textile industry is not capable to absorb this capacity.
  • Auto Coner with auto feed and auto doff & high speed rotor spinning machines, and airjet spinning machines are not manufactured in the country today. Except there is limited demand for such machines per annum. The same may be the reason due to which there is no indigenous development till date. It is needless to mention that Lakshmi Machine Works Ltd., Kirloskar Toyota Textile Machinery Pvt. Ltd., Rieter India Pvt. Ltd., Truetzschler India Pvt. Ltd., Zinser Textile Systems Pvt. Ltd., Veejay Lakshmi Engineering Works Ltd. etc. are the most reputed manufacturers of spinning machinery in the country

2. Weaving: The total capacity is Rs. 703 crore.

  • Weaving Preparatory: The technology is at par with international standards. There is enough capacity and production. Some of the reputed manufacturers are Prashant Gamatex Pvt. Ltd., Jupiter Comtex Pvt. Ltd., Rabatex Industries etc.
  • Weaving (Shuttle loom): Many manufacturers are supplying almost 40,000 to 50,000 power looms per annum. There are few manufacturers of automatic shuttle looms for which demand is less. There are over hundred manufacturers. Reputed manufacturers are Laxmi Textile Stores, Dynamic Looms, Honest Trading Company Pvt. Ltd., Premier Looms Manufacturers Pvt. Ltd., etc.
  • Weaving (Shuttleless Looms): A number of manufacturers of old technology Rapier looms (Crank Beat-up) has come into existence. These numbers are on the rise. Present installed capacity is almost 16,500 looms per annum, though production has not reached beyond 2,500 per annum. However demand is increasing, it is hoped that within a span of another 2 years there would be approx. 30 manufacturers in the country. It is assumed that shortage of labour is responsible for increase in demand for this type of low cost low tech shuttleless looms. New technology rapier looms (Cam beat up) have been developed indigenously. But its commercial exploitation has not been possible due to the preference of imported second hand looms and cheaper Chinese looms. Things may change if the Government restricts the import of second hand looms.
  • New technology Air Jet Loom has been developed indigenously. Though it has made its presence felt in some centres, the commercial success is still missing. The reason is very simple. Why one should buy the untested loom when the imported second hand loom is available at 50% cost of domestic loom?
  • New technology water Jet Loom has also been developed. Its cost is ⅓ of the imported new loom. Here the question is how the domestic manufacturer would be in a position to offer same quality of imported loom at this cost. At the same time if they make it more sophisticated, the increase in cost will jeopardise the marketing because the second hand water Jet looms and Chinese new looms are cheaper. Therefore, the commercial success is still far off.
  • Reputed manufacturers of shuttleless looms are Alidhra Weavetech Pvt. Ltd., Aalidhra Texpro Engineering Pvt. Ltd, Dynamic Autolooms India Pvt. Ltd., Lifebond Machines Pvt. Ltd., Laxmi Shuttleless Looms Pvt. Ltd., Billimora Engineers Pvt. Ltd., Orange Weaving Engg. Pvt. Ltd., etc. There are approx. 20 manufacturers and more are coming into existence.
  • CAM ( Computer Aided Machinery) beat up hi-tech shuttleless Looms with all important features such as electronic let off, electronic take up, inverter driven motors, pick finding mechanism and other essential controls are now being manufactured by 3/4 companies. These are running at speed of 250-350 rpm at a price range below Rs. 10 lakhs. Further developments are going on. Even, the crank beat-up ordinary shuttleless looms have been upgraded with similar features which are capable of producing high quality fabrics at a cheaper cost suitable for exports. These looms will be best suited for the modernization of textile industry specifically the decentralised powerloom sector.

3. Synthetic Machinery: The capacity is Rs. 1,000.00 crore approx. All kinds of synthetic machines such as Draw Texturising, TFO Twister, H. S. Winder etc. except fibre/filament manufacturing chemical plant, are produced. India is self-sufficient in such machinery. There are also exports to different countries. We are competing with the reputed manufacturers of the world on equal footing. There is practically no import as there is no technology gap.

Most of the components of the synthetic fibre/filament mechanical processing machinery are made in India.  Surat, Rajkot, Surendranagar are the main centers for the manufacture of spindles, spindle pots, spindle inserts, etc. Only critical electronic equipment like PLC controls, servo motors etc. are imported. There is no manufacturer of fibre/ filament producing machinery except PP production line.

Important manufacturers are Himson Engineering Pvt. Ltd., Himson Textile Engineering Industries Pvt. Ltd., Aalidhra Technotex Industries, Aalidhra Texpro Engineering Pvt. Ltd., Premier Looms, Meera Industries Pvt. Ltd., Palod Himson Machines Pvt. Ltd., etc. there are almost 50 manufacturers in this category.

4. Processing and Finishing Machinery: The total capacity is approx. Rs. 900 crore.

There are more than 50 manufacturers of processing machinery in the country. Almost an entire range of processing machinery is being manufactured now in the country, along with continuous scouring, bleaching, mercerising, washing, dyeing plants, preshrinking ranges and more, by the domestic manufacturers. The indigenous machinery available now competes on an even footing with their European counterparts with low material to liquor ratio, and is capable of processing fabric with comparable results at a very reasonable cost. All critical electronic components and equipments are imported. All other types of parts and accessories are also made in India.

For batch processes perhaps, we have the best quality machines when compared with other countries. Quality of textiles processing in Indian machines is at par with international standards. Technology gaps exist only in case of special purpose processing and finishing machinery and continuous plants. Now-a-days, this gap is also getting reduced.

Many hi- tech machinery are being manufactured in the country for e.g. Continuous Bleaching Plant, Dyeing Plant, Washing range, Preshrinking Range, Indigo dyeing Plant, Stenters etc. The important manufacturers are Harish Enterprise Pvt. Ltd., Yamuna Machine Works Ltd., Dhall Enterprises & Engineers Pvt. Ltd., Kusters Calico Pvt. Ltd., Palod Himson Machines Pvt. Ltd., InspirOn Engineering Pvt. Ltd., etc.

Existing capacity meets over 50% of the requirement

5. Testing & Monitoring Equipments

The Indian textile engineering industry started developing testing and monitoring equipment in the 60s. Today a wide range of high quality latest generation equipment are being manufactured in the country. Almost 80% of the requirement is met by the domestic manufacturers. The total capacity is Rs. 220.17 crore. In this segment critical components and electronic controls are imported. Premier Evolvics is the most reputed manufacturer of testing equipments. There are others viz. Mag Solvics Pvt. Ltd., Pioneer Instruments & Innovations, etc.

6. Jute Machinery

Even in jute machinery the percentage share of demand is over 60%. There are half a dozen good manufacturers of jute machinery in the eastern part of the country. Many items of jute machinery are being manufactured here with total capacity not exceeding Rs. 70 crore.

Lagan Engineering Co.Ltd., Kolkata is the major manufacturer of jute machinery and its parts, components and accessories. There are some small engineering units which are also manufacturing jute machinery parts and accessories in Kolkata, West Bengal.

7. Parts/Components and Accessories: Capacity is almost Rs. 1,000 crore.

The parts/components and accessories also play a major role in manufacturing and maintenance of the textile machineries. These are: Bearings, Beams, Bobbins, Bobbin Holders, Bushes, Card Gauges, Ceramic Guides, Cone and Tubes, Cops-Aluminum/Steel,  Drums, Filters, Flat Tops, Motors, Needles, Pins, Pirns, Belts, Rollers, Humidifiers, Over Head Traveling Cleaners, Shuttles, Healds, Reeds, Spindle Tapes, Trolleys, etc.

  1. Except some critical parts, most of the items are manufactured
  2. High speed cam dobby, electronic dobby and jacquard are not manufactured

There is a long list of companies manufacturing parts components and accessories. Some of them are Lakshmi Card Clothing Mfg. Co. Pvt. Ltd., The Indian Card Clothing Co. Ltd., Mayur Reeds healds Pvt. Ltd., Maksteel Wire Healds Pvt. Ltd., Simta Machinery, NRB Industrial Bearings Ltd., SKF India Ltd., Surya machinery Mfg. Pvt. Ltd., Laxmi Textile Stores, Metalreeds & Mill Store Manufacturers, Sumatex Ltd., Dynamic Autolooms India Pvt. Ltd., etc.

Machinery items not manufactured

It is true that hi-tech garment making machinery and knitting machinery are not made in India. There is of course no shortage of ordinary domestic sewing machines and low tech knitting machines. But the decentralized character of the hosiery and garment sector has never been conducive for indigenous development.

The capacity of domestic hosiery and garment making machinery is approx. Rs. 70 crore.

Similar is the case of nonwoven and technical textiles machinery. There was very little demand in the past. However, there are many technical textile items which are being manufactured in indigenous machines eg. Glass fiber fabrics, fish nets, mosquito nets, filter fabrics etc. etc.

Textile Engineering Industry was patronized by the Textile Industry when it came into being. Over the period of last 6/7 decades, the gap between the industries increased due to some reason or the other. However, no user industry can prosper with dependence on the imported technology in the long run as it would increase the cost of investment. The country as a whole would not prosper as there would be no value addition. In order to increase the GDP growth there is an absolute need for a homogeneous growth across the industries which are complementary to each other. Therefore all the stake holders including the Government should help the domestic textile machinery manufacturers to come up to the expectations.

This article reflects the personal view of author.