What kind of impact will automation and robotics have on the textile and apparel manufacturing industries in Asia, especially countries like India, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a way of organising your production, more than anything else. I have not seen companies incorporating this technology around the globe. IoT is more of a philosophical or engineering approach, because something like this was already present in this market with machines that have been speaking or giving data. As a group, we have a very big project on the IoT or artificial intelligence supplied to the machines which will be made available in the market in the next one and a half or two years. It is an artificial intelligence programme for all machines.
How has demonetisation affected the textile industry?
We have not seen it yet, but there will be some effects. The number of visitors has not reduced. The companies need to grow anyway, even if there's demonetisation.
What are the top 3 innovations that you witnessed at India ITME apart from Santex?
Companies are still working on the new improvements. Something that is not nice that I have seen is making machines specifically less expensive for this kind of market. Because what India needs are good machines and not inexpensive ones. If you look at inexpensive machines, you are also looking at lower quality and I don't think it is the best thing to invest in.
What are the challenges that you face while working in India?
India is a price sensitive market. Performance and quality are expected at smarter prices, especially shifting from premium products to value products. Moreover, customers have problems of getting money from the bank and this represents a risk of slowing down the economy.
Which verticals in the textile industry does India need to revamp with latest machines?
I think what the Indian entrepreneurs should be looking at is technical textiles, from military applications to civil applications to geotextile. That's a big market and it takes capital to get into it and the market here is using a lot of technical textiles. India is importing a lot of it. It is a big opportunity for local market and for exports.
When you get into this type of technology or process, what you need are experienced people. Here you have good fantastic institutes that are working on the software, the knowledge is there. You need to get technology - European or Indian. I think they should step into this and not let only big corporations do this. Big Indian corporations are doing this and making a lot of money with technical textiles, because it is a way of adding value to textiles. I think Indians should be investing in this segment.
If you had to summarise your experience at India ITME 2016 so far in one line what would you say.
It has been pretty good.
What are your expectations from the next edition?
With such potential, here, exhibitors are willing to invest but they need to have proper infrastructures.
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