A K Maheshwari
CEO Acrylic Fibre Business, Aditya Birla Group
Asia accounts for almost 40 percent of the total acrylic consumption in the world
Mr. A K Maheshwari talks about the global market for acrylic fibre with Fibre2Fashion correspondent Mary Christine Joy.
Thai Acrylic Fibre Co. Ltd. (TAF) was established in 1987. It commenced operations in 1989. It is one of the leading suppliers of acrylic in the world.
Mr. A. K. Maheshwari led the organization to become one of the most successful Acrylic Fibre producers in the world, outperforming the competition during an extremely adverse business scenario and emerged as winner. He has received "Business Leader of the Year - Chemicals & Petrochemicals" award from the Chemtech Foundation, India's process industry body. With a special emphasis on innovations, Mr. Maheshwari has led the team to develop new cost efficient technology for acrylic fibre, new polymer with low cost co-monomer, and quantum improvements in productivity, energy management, and new value added products and customized solutions to meet customers' needs.
To start with, can you state something about Thai Acrylic as an organization? What are its core objectives and how far has it progressed?
Thai Acrylic is a part of Aditya Birla Group which is a 42 billion conglomerate. Today, our motto is to create value for all our stake holders. We are focused on improving the management of the unit along with quality management. More than 70 percent of our sales are through our repeat customers. We are established in more than 50 countries, and more than 90 percent of our revenues are generated through exports. Community development initiatives are also an area of concentration for us. We firmly believe that as an organization as we grow, the community around us should also grow.
You are based in Thailand. Does Thailand hold special attributes with regards to synthetic fibre manufacturing as compared to the other countries of the world? What makes Thailand special as compared to other countries?
Thailand is centrally placed among the major commercial centers like China, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, etc. As such, Thailand is the third largest producer of filament fibres in the world, and it ranks eleventh in terms of conventional fibres. When we started, Thailand had a reasonable price for the textile industry. But late off, due to limited availability of resources and cost of manpower going up, we have seen that spinning industry in particular has moved around to different countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, etc. But Thailand provides a lot of support in terms of logistics and governmental issues, besides being a central hub to major community centres.
Can acrylic fibre prove to be a better raw material as compared to wool in terms of winter wear? Can you elaborate your answer?
Wool is a natural fibre and it is recognized for winter wear. However, acrylic can provide a similar kind of warmth because of its properties. There is bi-component acrylic which provides a similar kind of warmth. Besides, we can impart certain functional properties to acrylic like anti-pilling properties (which keeps the cloth always new and safe), anti bacterial properties, etc. So, the products cannot just be used to provide warmth, but can also prove beneficial to the end users in other ways. Acrylic is a very good substitute for wool. Acrylic can be dyed in a variety of shades, and that is its beauty.
What have you got to say about acrylic fibre being cheaper for textiles and clothing as compared to natural raw materials?
As far as cost is concerned, acrylic is directly cheaper to natural raw materials like wool. But rising prices for all the products has also affected the price of acrylic.
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