With the disposable income rising among middle class and lower middle class population in India and the arrival of soon to be retail giants such as Reliance, Bharati-Walmart and Aditya Birla Group, opportunities exist in semi-durable and consumer nonwoven technical textiles. Consumer products where nonwovens are used include household wipes, baby diapers, feminine hygiene products and lifestyle enhancement product such as facial wipers. Semi-durable products include automobile textiles such as trunkliners, acoustic insulation pads and headliners,

There is ongoing political-scienti1ic debate in the US and other industrialized nations on the CO2 emissions that will arise due to the explosion in the use of automobiles in China and India. Although this is a serious concern which lndians have to consider, the exponential growth in the use of automobiles in India should help with the growth of nonwovens. How can this be feasible? In every automobile on an average there is 25 kgs of nonwoven technical textiles.

Take for example, Honda Motors in India which is doubling its capacity to produce 1 lakh of vehicles which will alone amount to use of 25 lakh kgs of nonwoven materials per annum. This is only one particular case. Tata Motors is expanding and so do General Motors going big in India and has invested heavily in Pune last year. India needs to enlarge its base in semi-durable and consumer goods nonwoven technical textiles to cope with the immediate requirements of these manufacturing industries.

Nonwoven technical textiles are not only used to produce semi-durable and consumer goods, but they also find applications in durable products such as geotextiles. Geotextiles are an important component these days in highway constructions to enhance lifetime as well as speed requirements. One of the issues that is challenging India is its infrastructural capabilities relative to China. On an average for every one highway in India there are roughly 7 highways in China.

This difference makes tremendous impact when multinationals make decisions to invest in China compared to that of India. India could do a lot betterlr1 using nonwoven technical textiles to attract FDls in retail sector where point top point transport of perishable goods like fruits and vegetables on a daily basis determines the survivability and growth of the retail chain in India. An important factor that impedes investments in the nonwoven technical textiles is the lack of awareness of both technology and marketing of nonwoven products.

The Nonwovens and Advanced Materials Laboratory at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, Tech University, USA has been over the three years conducting internal conferences on high performance technical textiles to create a forum where interactions can take place at a global, on the advancements and opportunities in high-end textiles, These endeavors have culminated in the arrival of the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA), USA in India to foster multinational collaborations and knowledge transfer. It is up to the Indian textile industry to seize this opportunity. Not only are there opportunities for our dry textile sector but also the wet industries i dyeing and finishing. Value added technical textiles, fore finished and dyed wipes have a huge market in India wh81 Indian dyeing and finishing industries have a major role to play. This is a gold mine yet to be mined by the Indian textile, finishing industry.

Courtesy: Colourage and Asian Textile Journal.

About the author:

Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar is Assistant Professor at Nonwoven and Advanced Materials Laboratory, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA. He is also Co-Chairman of INDA-India Committee, INDA, USA. He has come to India to promote Nonwoven Fabrics Industry.

Email: Seshadri.Ramkumar@TIEHH.TTU.edu

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