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Textile sector one step ahead of competitor pack
Mar '09
Amongst the textile hubs in the world, Japan is in the forefront, for its ability in staying ahead of the pack, by repositioning its industry as and when the economy demanded, due to which most of the Japan based companies are recognized leaders in the segments that they operate in. Research and Development activities have also played a key role.

The Japanese textile industry for instance, has played pioneering roles in development and innovation across the whole value chain, in areas such as fibres, yarns, fabrics, dyes and chemicals and textile machinery. Over the years, the Japanese manufacturers moved and established plants in countries, which they found to be cost competitive.

All these factors helped in ensuring that the Japanese textile industry, stayed strong and firm, despite the vagaries of a changing global economic order, which has brought doom for the sector and companies on its knees in many countries, due to not being able to keep pace and inculcate change with the times, which the Japanese textile industry did with aplomb.

The Japanese textile sector, long ago realized that if they had to survive in the current times, they would have to go beyond manufacturing of traditional textiles, by adding value or innovating new products, since others Asian countries had more cost competitiveness in traditional textiles. This spurred them to make rapid progress in the upcoming field of technical textiles.

Toray Industries Ltd is a fibre and fabric manufacturing company, which has to its credit, invention of many an innovative fabric. It has recently developed a fabric to be worn in space along with two others and now is planning to commercialize the same by using it in sportswear for its anti-static, fire-resistant, heat-retaining and anti-bacterial properties.

Another Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Rayon, also a fibre and fabric manufacturer has also managed to stay ahead by innovating new fibres and fabrics for functional and performance textiles. Amongst its new developments are anti-pilling (Vonnel H6 Series), anti-static (Corebrid-B), super fine denier fibre (Miyabi) and Funcle, a flat cross-section fibre.

The consumers, more so of the developed western countries are slowly getting conscious of using recycled and products made from sustainable resources. The Japanese textile manufacturers, who keep one year to the ground, picked up the cues of this developing trend long ago, when sustainability was spoken about by only environmentalists.

They knew that, this new trend would one day become a rage, as and when consumers become more and more conscious of their surroundings. A few companies like Teijin fibres, have been in the forefront of developments in recycling and sustainability and has successfully developed polyester and glove recycling programmes.

Teijin has developed an Eco Circle program with participation by a 100 odd companies who share a commitment to promoting progressive environmental activities through product development, collection of used materials and recycling. Another fibre manufacturing company, Toray is also contributing its mite to sustainability by initiating a nylon recycling programme.

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