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Managing Director - South Asia Lubrizol Advanced Materials
Looks like Lubrizol is now pressing the pedal in the Indian market, especially with Estane. What has been the thought behind it?
The Estane business unit, within Lubrizol Advanced Materials, bases most of its solutions around thermo plastic polyurethane (TPU)). One of the oldest and largest manufacturers of TPU in the world, Lubrizol has been teaming up with inventive and pioneering partners, setting the precedent for current innovations and advancements in the footwear and performance apparel industries. Hardworking Estane enables outerwear to be waterproof, breathable, or both. It can improve durability in high performance garments used in extreme applications such as hiking, rock climbing or other high abrasion environments. Our products improve the performance, versatility, and inherent design enhancements of apparel products. Sewn seams can be eliminated, preventing chafing in performance sports apparel such as running or bicycle shorts. Estane can either impart hydrophobic (repelling moisture) or hydrophilic (absorbing moisture) characteristics, or act as a barrier to the elements entirely, depending on the garment’s intended wear. Estane can even embrace sub-zero climates. Flame-retardants, as well as other additives, can be incorporated into the final product for other functionalities. For us this represents an exciting and rapidly growing market opportunity in South Asia and India in particular, as consumers become increasingly interested in, and able to afford high performance clothing and accessories. Especially exciting for us is our patented X4zol-J (Fiber J) technology. X4zol-J is a next generation polyurethane elastic fibre with improved physical properties allowing it to be thinner, stronger, smoother and more breathable as compared to traditional spandex like fibres. We see a huge potential for this product line in particular in India and South Asia in general.
How much does the textile niche in Asia contribute to Lubrizol’s revenues?
Asia in general is an important textile market for Lubrizol and contributes significantly to our revenue base. And, although China remains the world’s largest exporter of textiles and finished garments in the world, Lubrizol is very keen to support the Indian and South Asia based textile and garment manufacturers, recognising South Asia’s strong growth in this sector, already claiming the spot of being the second largest exporter in the world after China.
What percentage of profit is allocated towards R&D in the field of textiles?
Lubrizol is a technology and solution driven company and invests heavily in product development, applications testing and development and fundamental R&D. A typical Lubrizol business unit will spend about 6-8 per cent of its revenue in this regard with our efforts in the textile space being no exception to this general rule of thumb. I would like to emphasise that, while we are indeed a 'specialty chemical company', our true mission and business model is to use our capabilities to help our customers achieve a performance level in their products that they could not otherwise achieve on their own. Said differently, we earn our living by helping our customers achieve their goals. In the case of textiles, this is supported by our centres of excellence’, where we support our customers via product development and applications and proof of performance testing. This includes our applications lab in Mumbai where our technical experts are able to shape and adjust solutions to meet specific customer needs.
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