Interview with Kunwar Venkteshwar Singh

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Kunwar Venkteshwar Singh
Kunwar Venkteshwar Singh
Country Manager
AITEX India
AITEX India

India has potential to be global manufacturing hub
AITEX is a leading Spanish centre for research, innovation and advanced technical services for the textile, manufacturing and technical textile sectors. It is a private non-profit association and institute that promote modernisation and the introduction of new and emerging technologies by developing R&D projects and initiatives that contribute to the industrial progress of the sector. The Country Manager for AITEX India, Kunwar Venkteshwar Singh, discusses activities and projects being organised for Indian textile manufacturers.

What are the activities of AITEX in the Indian/South Asian markets? How does the market affect your institution?

AITEX provides quality assurance services for all kind of technical textile products, i.e. automotive textiles, medical textiles, personal protective clothing, geotextiles and sport textiles, etc. AITEX has been providing services of certification of personal protective equipment (PPE) to Indian manufacturers for electrostatic and electrical protection, thermal protection, high visibility protection, chemical protection, mechanical and ballistic protection. Testing and certification requirements are directly proportional to the market conditions. Whenever there is a slowdown in the requirement from Europe, testing and certification requirements also go down. But research and development in textile is a continuous programme at the institution since it is the need of the hour.

What are the current projects of AITEX India? What benefits will those accrue?

The technical textile market in India is expected to grow at 12 per cent CAGR between 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. AITEX in India is mainly focusing on the three important sectors of technical textiles: protective textiles, medical textiles and automotive textiles. Protective textiles manufactured in India are mainly exported to Europe, or the other markets like the Middle-East and Australia where European standards are followed. Therefore, Indian manufacturers of protective textiles need some notified body which can provide them CE certificate to their garments, and here AITEX works very closely with manufacturers to provide all testing and certification services.

What type of services does AITEX India offer to Indian companies? How do they differ from services offered by AITEX to European companies?

AITEX India provides various testing and certification services to Indian manufacturers.  In India, we are working as quality assurance partners for Elcorte Ingles and Mango and we provide testing services for all their products, i.e, apparel, home textiles, accessories and leather items. Also, we provide testing and certification for all kind of technical textiles manufactured in India. But requirements for testing and certification for protective clothing is tremendous. AITEX is also providing Oekotex certification services to Indian manufacturers for all kinds of textiles items and leather.  And we have recently started to work on Detox to Zero, which deals with the discharge of harmful and toxic chemicals. AITEX provides similar services to all customers in Europe and India, but as European companies are more concerned about the standards, regulations and environment whereas in India we are still looking for some significant steps in many directions.

Can you elaborate on the research undertaken by AITEX in the textiles and technical textiles sectors?

AITEX participates in national projects of industrial research of strategic character, great dimension and long reach. These actions have the support of national calls for public aid. The institute participates in the European research system, coordinating and participating in research, innovation and industrial demonstration projects of a strategic, large and far-reaching nature within programmes such as the 7th Framework Programme, Eureka, LIFE +, Leonardo, TempuS, CIP eco-innovation, H2020, Interreg, ENPI, European Defense Agency, among others.

The institute is involved in the R&D of surface finishing techniques for new-generation textiles to provide them with advanced properties and functions, and the development of textile solutions applied to health and hygiene, sports and comfort and the environment.

AITEX develops textile materials for use in biomedicine and biotechnology, and the institute's work on biomedical applications brings it into close collaboration with health research institutes and hospitals, and our attention is focused on biomaterials destined for fields such as tissue engineering, slow-release of pharmaceuticals, prosthetics and dressings. AITEX is constantly working on the development of R+D+I projects related to biotechnology and its uses in textile products and processes in the fields of cosmetics, natural products and the encapsulation of active compounds.

The institute is fully equipped with all the experimental plant and necessary infrastructure to develop the various lines of research. Nanotechnology and technical fibres for the development of products and industrial processes for the use of nanotechnology helps in the development of enhanced textiles with a range of technical properties which include anti-bacterial, fungicidal, hydrophobic, hydrophilic and nano-coated fabrics. There are also thermally resistant, conductive, anti-static, breathable, high-strength, bulletproof and camouflaged fabrics and those which have been sensitised to create smart textiles. 

The institute is working on the development of new composite products. Composites are widely used in a variety of industrial sectors including the automotive and aeronautics industries, construction, marine architecture and sports and represent an important alternative to traditional materials such as steel, aluminum and wood. Creating technological solutions from composite materials is now within the reach of many manufacturers and there is a growing demand for those.

Composite materials combine high-strength and low-density with excellent corrosion resistance and provide industrial design engineers with a highly versatile material. The use of bio-composites from renewable resources using natural fibres and vegetable oil-based polymers represents an important sustainable alternative to the more traditionally-used petrochemical-based composites. With respect to sustainability, a wide variety of innovative products are now becoming available made from natural compounds and they are fast becoming a viable alternative to synthetic reinforcing fibre, particularly in the automotive and building industries.
Published on: 25/05/2017

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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