A K Maheshwari
CEO Acrylic Fibre Business, Aditya Birla Group
Other than being a production hub for acrylic fibre, do you suppose Asia holds a great scope for this raw material as a market? How do you see the demand in Asia for acrylic fibre?
Globally, almost 60 percent of the total production of acrylic fibre is concentrated in Asia. Three out of top five manufacturing units for acrylic are in Asia (Thai acrylic being one of them). Asia accounts for almost 40 percent of the total acrylic consumption in the world, but the per capital consumption for acrylic still remains high in Europe and USA. With the improvement in the living conditions of the middle class in Asia, the demand for fibre and garments are increasing, and the growth rate for the consumption of this fibre in Asia is going to remain high. The growth rate is expected to be faster than that of other regions. Asia is an important consumer market for acrylic fibre.
How is the demand for acrylic fibre in USA and Europe (the traditional markets) at the current stage? Is it growing or expected to grow in the near future?
The growth in demand for acrylic in USA has been quite good and somewhat consistent. But in Europe, owing to the problems in the economy, the growth in demand has not remained that good. But owing to such strong winters in these countries, we expect the demand to sustain.
What are the latest applications for acrylic fibre in the market today, apart from being an alternative to wool?
Apart from being an alternative to wool, acrylic fibre has new end applications in modern times. It goes into blankets, carpets, and industrial applications like filters, mixing with cements, papers, etc. In addition to that, acrylic fibres find a strong application in outdoor fabrics like car covers, outdoor furnitures, medical textiles, geo textiles, etc.
What makes acrylic fibre from Thai Acrylic special as compared to the rest in the industry? Can you give some of your strengths?
We have got a lot of scope for innovation, and application development and research and development. Some of the products which we have can also be used to maintain body temperature. It can protect you from heat, cold, and changing environment. Some of our products provide anti allergy features. They protect you from respiratory allergy and others. Besides making innovative products, we also focus on quality management. We have procured leading awards in quality management including Thailand Quality Management Award and Japan Quality Medal from Deming Prize Committee.
Environmental protection is a must for any business house in modern times, isn't it? How can acrylic fibre manufacturing be made sustainable?
Sustainability has remained our core focus from the very beginning. Energy management, water management, community services, and other such measures have remained our area of focus. A lot of work has also been done towards creating awareness in this regards.
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