Interview with C Kamatchisundaram

C Kamatchisundaram
C Kamatchisundaram
VP-Textile Machinery Division

India needs to increase focus on export of synthetics
Voltas's textile machinery division is a leading technology provider in India with a comprehensive product suite including capital equipment, machinery, accessories, allied machinery and services for spinning, knitting, weaving, processing and finishing sectors. Vice-president C Kamatchisundaram speaks about the trials and tribulations of the industry and the company's wide range of product offering.

How is Voltas positioned in the Indian textiles industry?

Voltas textile machinery division is a household name in the textiles industry. We have been in the business of providing technology solutions and services to the textiles industry for more than 60 years. We have been and are the market leader in each and every segment of the textiles industry. For example, in the spinning machinery market, our principal-LMW-holds a market share of more than 55 per cent. Voltas is present in each part of the value chain right from spinning till garmenting and we are market leaders in each of the segment except garmenting where we made an entry only in the recent past. We are offering latest technology machines from globally reputed manufacturers like LMW, Terrot, Brueckner, Thies, Reggiani, Benninger, Shima Seiki, etc, in each part of the value chain. 

We have a footprint across the country through our branches located in 16 locations, which are strategically positioned close to the textile clusters. In order to provide services at a rapid pace, our service engineers are also located at different parts of the country which enables us to respond to the customer needs almost on the same day.

What are your impressions about the pace of growth of the Indian technical textiles market?

The technical textile industry in India has the potential to grow at a rate of 15-20 per cent annually to touch $30 billion over the next five years. Despite the huge potential, the investment in technical textiles sector has not gained much momentum in the past. There have been sporadic investments to manufacture in artificial leather, hygiene textiles, medical textiles and geotextiles, etc. However, India may need to accelerate investments quickly to encash the opportunities, as otherwise it would be taken over by other competing countries.

What solutions do you offer to the technical textiles segment?

The term technical textiles is a very broad term and it covers almost all the textiles used in various applications other than garments and apparel. There is a deceptive notion that technical textiles are made mainly out of nonwovens which is not correct.
The spinning machines manufactured by our principals LMW are used to make yarn meant for technical textiles, which include the yarns made from specialty fibres like Kevlar, Nomex, etc. We are proud to say that the machines manufactured by LMW are the only machines used in the Indian textiles industry to make such specialty yarn due to the versatility and user friendliness of LMW machinery. 

The circular knitting machines manufactured by our principals Terrot are used for making special fabrics like spacer fabrics and car upholstery. Similarly, the flat knitting machines manufactured by our principals Shima Seiki are used for making 3-dimensional fabrics, shoe uppers, car upholstery, etc.

The weaving machines manufactured by our principals Rifa are used for making specialty fabrics like bulletproof fabrics from carbon filaments. The coating and finishing machines from our principals Brueckner are the widely accepted machines for finishing the technical textiles. 

For the manufacture of nonwovens through spunbond, spunlace and needle punching technologies, we are on the lookout for representing the right machinery manufacturer. 

Which factors will affect the textile machinery sector significantly in next five years?

The global textile machinery sector has a high focus on India as the Indian textiles industry has a great potential driven by both strong domestic market as well as the export demand. The fortunes of the textile machinery sector depend mostly on the fortunes of the user industry and hence the following factors would have major influence on the textile machinery sector:
  • The market share of Indian textiles industry in the global textile trade is only 4-5 per cent. There is a high potential to at least double this share to 10 per cent despite the challenges. This would call for initiatives by the government of India as well as by the industry themselves. Our competing countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, etc, have the huge benefit of free trade agreements with consuming countries. If free trade agreements are enabled with consuming blocs like Europe and the US, it would accelerate the growth of textiles industry as well as textile machinery industry.
  • In addition, the Indian textiles industry needs to build capabilities by not only moving up the value chain but also by modernising the plants to cater to the high-end needs of the export market. This would call for accelerated modernisation in every segment of the textiles value chain including spinning, weaving, knitting, processing, finishing, etc.
  • The Indian textiles industry is cotton-focused at a rate of 60:40 for cotton and synthetic fibres. The export of garments is mainly cotton-based. The industry needs to focus on the export potential in the synthetics sector to improve global market share.
  • Further, the industry must find ways and means to accelerate the growth of per capita consumption of textiles in the domestic industry. Though the growth of the organised retail sector is contributing to the above, the extent of growth is quite low.
  • The cumulative effect of all the above if implemented may lead to extensive growth in the textile industry as well as the textile machinery industry. 

Who are your major clients in India and abroad?

It would not be an overstatement if we say that almost every textile organisation in the country is our customer for at least one of the products offered by us. This has been made possible mainly because of the array of offerings by Voltas which includes the products needed for capital investment and the products needed for operating a textile mill.  Our major clients in India include Vardhaman, Trident, Nahar, Garg, Winsome, DCM in the north; Arvind, Welspun, RSWM, Sangam, Sintex, Shri Vallabh Pittie, Technocraft, Morarji in the west and Premier, Precot, GTN, Surya Group, Shanmugavel Group, GHCL, Thiagarajar group, Mohan Spintex in the south. We are an India-focused organisation and our customer base is mainly in India. However, we have partnered with machinery manufacturers in India and across the globe to bring technology solutions and services to the Indian textiles industry.

What makes Shima Seiki's whole garment knitwear revolutionary?

Shima Seiki offers various models in the flat knitting itself, which enables the customers to make panels with endless possibilities of design. In addition, Shima Seiki is the first to offer the whole garment making machinery for the industry. As you know, a garment is made by cutting and stitching, and it calls for a lot of labour. This machine eliminates the usage of these processes. In the whole-garment machine, the garment is made directly from the yarn from endless number of designs and colours. Even the design of the buyer can be adopted in the machine very easily and quickly. 
The revolutionary whole-garment knitwear is produced in one entire piece, three-dimensionally, directly on the knitting machine. Consequently, it requires no expensive, time-consuming post-production labour. The advantages of this cutting technology include:
  • A further reduction in materials beyond even fully-fashioned production;
  • Faster time to market by eliminating the need for sewing any components;
  • These factors increase cost-effectiveness.

Which are the latest innovative solutions that you offer across spinning and post-spinning needs?

In spinning, our principals LMW have been the forerunner in continuously launching innovative products which add great value to our customers. The Ring Frame LR9SX launched in ITMA Milano 2015 is the most flexible and technologically advanced Ring Frame in the market. The longest speed frame in the world with 280 spindles and drive from both sides is a key innovation from LMW. Similarly, LMW was the first to launch Comber LK69, the fastest comber in the market. Card LC636 launched by LMW is the real 1.5 mts wide card, as it has been designed keeping the current and future needs of the customers on productivity, quality, user friendliness, etc. The SpinPact, the revolutionary compact spinning system offered by our principals LMW enables our customers to produce high quality compact yarn at a very competitive cost.  Similarly, many innovations have been launched by our principals in processing, finishing, part of the value chain-for example, CDR and finishing machines by Brueckner, iMaster and iCone fabric and yarn dyeing machines respectively by our principals Thies, the single pass digital printing machines by Efi Reggiani, etc.

What is the USP of Voltas?

The major USP of Voltas are the following 
1. Our presence in the entire textile value chain;
2. Ability to offer quality products with latest technology from global leaders;
3. Expertise in the textiles industry for more than six decades;
4. Strong customer base;
5. Long and established relationship with principals and customers;
6. Ability to offer special services to the customers.
The USP also includes services and support throughout the lifecycle of the products by a capable set-up of technologists and service engineers, placed at different parts of the country and close to the textile clusters, which enable us to respond to the service needs very quickly. In addition, and in accordance with the values of the Tata Group to which Voltas belongs, the customers are assured on the trust worthiness and the value creation. 
Published on: 03/01/2019

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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