Interview with Anjani Prasad

Face2Face
Anjani Prasad
Anjani Prasad
Managing Director & Head (Brand Performance Textile Specialties -India, Nepal, Sri Lanka),
Archroma
Archroma

We are still not competitive against Bangladesh and Vietnam

Archroma is a global leader in colour and specialty chemicals known for pioneering custom colour engineering in textile and fashion. Anjani Prasad, Managing Director & Head  Brand Performance Textile Specialties  for India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, talks about the latest in the processing niche and gives possible suggestions to empower this sector in India.

Your thoughts on the recently concluded TechTextil 2017?

Archroma was present at Techtextil India 2017 which took place over three days in Mumbai. We had a booth in the exhibition, where our highlights such as our halogen-free range of Pekoflam flame retardants, were well received by visitors and customers. This exhibition was visited by key players in the area of technical textiles, and many of our customers actually were present with their respective stalls. So, it was a good networking ground to remain connected with our existing customers as well connect with as new customers and partners.  We also promoted our C6-based Nuva fluorochemicals, sanitised and coating solutions. Coating in particular attracted attention at our booth, although hot melt application has not fully picked up yet in India.

Where do you see the market for textile specialties growing? What factors are responsible for the growth in these regions?

Asia is playing a dominant role in the textiles value chain, and fast growing markets such as Bangladesh, Vietnam or Myanmar offer excellent growth opportunities. At the same time, we see markets like Turkey, North Africa or Central America growing and playing an important role in shortening the supply time to the major markets in Europe and America. Europe, is now also from a textile manufacturers market perspective stabilising after years of decline, and we see segments such as automotive and technical textiles in general offering interesting growth opportunities in the years to come.

Where does India stand in terms of processing technologies in comparison to its counterparts like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh?

Processing technologies are evolving well in India, especially in areas such as home textiles. In apparel, the scale of operation is still low there. The average production size in Bangladesh is about 40-50 tonnes per day whereas in India it is around 15-20 tonnes per day. Sri Lanka is more into activewear, whereas India doesn't have much presence in the activewear market, and only few customers are active in this area. This could be an area for future growth, because the activewear market will increase in India, since in India a lot of brands are still importing their garments. There are some pockets like Ludhiana for polyester and knitwear where some of the big companies are sourcing from, but are still not to the level of Sri Lanka in terms of processing technology. In terms of garmenting, both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are ahead; so, the value chain in India still has some room to grow there.

What are the latest innovations and technologies being used in this industry?

The latest innovations in technology are towards sustainability. Textile manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce water consumption, because water is clearly a huge concern for the processing industry where many of the state governments have made zero discharge mandatory. Textile manufacturers are searching for processes which consume less water and allow more bio-elimination because BOD, COD controls the bio elimination and biodegradable products would be of interest. The latest Archroma technologies, supported by our One Way sustainability service, aim at helping our customers select solutions for lower liquor ratio, energy consumption and higher productivity. We also see ink jet picking up slowly in India but development in terms of  machineries are still required. That is where our Inkpresso system comes to the rescue. This is a revolutionary concept, where inks are developed on site at the customer-end in the machine. In normal systems, there are different inks to be developed for different print-heads. Inkpresso allows for a single system to cater to different heads. Furthermore, it also allows customisation in terms of colours and viscosity of the inks. The total carbon footprint of the system is also much lesser since transportation is reduced significantly. We are already seeing a lot of enthusiasm for it in India.

What steps are being taken at Archroma to cut carbon footprint and stay sustainable?

We are not just saying that sustainability is important-it's our nature. That is why we continuously challenge the status quo in the belief that we can make our industry sustainable.

First, we strive for continual improvement in processes, saving natural resources and limiting emissions. In late 2013, for instance, we opened the SET facility in Jamshoro, Pakistan, what we believe is the first sustainable effluent treatment facility for a textiles operational site. With an investment of 371 million PKR, the facility not only supports substantial recovery of 80 per cent of water, but also allows effluent treatment based on zero liquid discharge. 

Second, as a responsible player, Archroma's purpose is to create chemical technologies that minimise environmental impact at all stages in a product's lifecycle, particularly helping to lower natural resource usage at our customers, the textile mills. 

Let me give you a few examples:
  • Archroma's Advanced Denim is a striking example of this commitment, adopted by Patagonia for instance. Advanced Denim is a breakthrough technology for eco-advanced colours, first introduced in 2009 and since then continuously enriched with new innovations and colours. Archroma's Advanced Denim concept, compared to conventional denim dyeing processes, allows to save up to 92 per cent water, 87 per cent in cotton, and 30 per cent in energy.
  • Smartrepel is a water-proofing agent for outdoor clothing that is not fluorine-based. This technology is now used by some brands who have opted to forgo the earlier use of technologies that had been widely used for their properties that repel water, stains and the like. With Smartrepel, we offer a non-fluorinated chemistry that can provide similar performance results to PFCs on cotton, polyester and polyamide textiles. 
  • EarthColours by Archroma is our ground-breaking range of "biosynthetic" dyes for cotton and cellulose-based fabrics, and provides rich red, brown and green colours to denim and casualwear. In this patent-pending technology selected by Patagonia or Kathmandu, which was four years in the making, Archroma makes use of almond shells, saw palmetto, rosemary leaves, and other natural non-edible waste products that would otherwise be sent to landfills. 
  • Foron Rapid Dyeing is a process for the ultimate dyeing of polyester and elastane blends.  It reduces the number of water processing steps both in the pre and post-treatment stages of dyeing and allows for the dyeing of polyester at lower temperatures, which protects the elastane performance, and in shorter times than 'standard' disperse dyes. This results in less impact on the environment with savings on water, energy, and higher productivity levels, all combine to reduce costs while ensuring the high performance required for active sportswear.
Third, it is essential that we break the perception that more sustainable equates to more expensive.  Archroma has thus developed an online tool that can digitise mills current process and then can accurately calculate the reduction in resource utilisation and also the direct impact on cost, of adopting Archroma's signature processes. The online tool takes our One Way pioneering sustainability service, introduced back in 2012, to a whole new level. The new One Way online platform will launched very soon. 

Published on: 11/10/2017

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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