Demand for textiles and apparel should be accelerated through FTAs
Voltas is one of India's leading textile machinery companies offering world-class value in technology solutions across the textile value chain. C Kamatchisundaram, vice president, Voltas, shares insights about the future of the Indian textile machinery industry.
What is the size of the global textile machinery market? What is the rate at which it is growing?
According to independent research reports, the global market size for the textile machinery is over $20 billion per year. In the past few years, the market has grown at a slow pace, given the slower economic recovery, low commodity prices to name a few. However, the long term potential is expected to be good, driven by the needs not only for classical textiles but also for technical textiles.
Voltas is a focused player in the Indian market and we provide world-class solutions to all customers across the value chain right from spinning to garmenting, with the best of the products, services and solutions in partnership with leading textile machinery manufacturers in India, Europe, China and Korea. In fact, some of our principals have been with the company for more than 50 years. We are proud that market leader in India, LMW, and market leaders in other parts of the globe see the value add from partnering with us, and thus have opted to work with us for sales and services of their products.
What kind of textile policies and subsidies can boost the textile machinery sector and help India compete with countries like China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh?
The government of India has been supporting the textiles industry through many policies like TUFS, ITP Scheme, and release of special packages; a recent case in point being the release of `6,000 crore to assist the Indian textiles industry to compete in the global exports market. However, countries like Vietnam and Bangladesh have been enjoying huge benefits through the free trade agreements (FTAs), preferred nation status, etc, which has helped increase their competitiveness. India too needs to explore similar agreements to accelerate the growth of exports of textiles and garments. We understand that there are lots of initiatives in the pipeline and even an FTA with European Union, if signed, would be a major boost for the industry as the EU is one of the major destinations for Indian textile exporters.
Which latest machines have been added for the textile industry in your product offerings?
Voltas is a single window solutions provider for customers for their every need-be it machinery, allied machinery,accessories, components and spares. We represent world class manufacturers in India and other parts of the globe to provide a range of products, which are performance leaders in the market. Our recent associations include Veejay Lakshmi for two-for-one twisters and assembly winders, FADIS, Italy for precision winders, E+L of Italy for slit opener, K+Z of Thailand for print shop equipments, Rapid for laboratory equipment, Runian for blanket polishing machinery, Kuris, Germany, for automatic fabric cutting machinery and AskMe, Taiwan for chest printing machinery.
What are the latest technological innovations in spinning, weaving, processing, knitting, and in the technical textiles niche?
In spinning area, our principals LMW has been the forerunner in continuously launching innovative products, which add a 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. 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 customers on productivity, quality, user-friendliness, etc. 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, and high technology digital printing machines by EFI Reggiani.
Which textile machines are popular among domestic manufacturers?
India has been a preferred nation for sourcing of yarn by the global textile manufacturers, as Indian yarn is not only competitive but also meets the global quality requirement. The market share of India in the global yarn market is over 30 per cent and it is only expected to grow further. Hence, the manufacturing of spinning machinery has been a preferred option for the domestic manufacturers. LMW had foreseen this well in advance and therefore created world class R&D, manufacturing facilities to offer the entire range of spinning machinery, which are technologically advanced and innovative. The products manufactured by LMW are not only preferred in India, but also in the global market. Our principals have been the market leaders in the Indian textile industry with a market share of more than 60 per cent.
Which are your major markets for machines in the spinning, weaving, processing, knitting, and technical textiles sectors? Where do you see the demand growing in all these categories?
As indicated earlier, Voltas is focused to serve the Indian textiles industry, which is present across various parts of the country. The investment pattern in India is not only cyclical but also one that shifts from one area to another based on the investment promotion schemes of the Central and state governments. In the current year and the last few years, the investments are concentrated on the western part of the country, followed by north and south zone in the same order. Speaking about the sectors, while the market for spinning machinery is growing at a small pace, the same for knitting, weaving and processing has seen an accelerated growth and especially the market for circular knitting, soft flow dyeing, digital printing and finishing machineries has seen an uptick. However, we believe that the long term outlook for spinning in the country is good, and hence we would witness a significant growth with demand for spinning machinery also going forward.
Which major issues are plaguing the Indian textile machinery industry?
Well, the fortunes in the textile machinery industry are closely linked to the fortunes in the user industry. Currently, the textiles industry is growing through a difficult phase due to the subdued market conditions. In spite of the same, the investments in the textiles industry has continued in many parts of the country, driven by the long-term potentials and by the subsidies provided by the state and Central governments. However, the textile machinery industry would be much better if the demand for textiles and apparel is accelerated in export markets through FTAs and other means.
What are your thoughts on TUFS ? Can it really revamp the Indian textile industry?
The TUFS continues to be a booster of the investment sentiments in our country. The new avatar of TUFS-ATUFS- facilitates more investments in the downstream processes like knitting, weaving, processing, finishing and more specifically garmenting. This augurs well even for spinning, as investments in the downstream processes would create proportional need of investments in spinning too.
What are your thoughts on Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is the future. It will lead to transformational changes across the industries through artificial intelligence, virtual reality, Industry Internet of Things (IIoT), big data analytics, etc. The textiles industry has already adopted this technology through networking of the various machineries in the plant and remote monitoring of high technology equipments. LMW had offered remote monitoring of many parameters in ring frames and other machines in the past, but the adoption by industry was slow. Similarly, the remote monitoring of finishing and printing machines has been practised for quite a number of years. With Industry 4.0 catching up, we are sure concepts like IIoT would be adopted by the textiles industry at a much faster pace than earlier. We are proud to say that most of our principals including LMW, Brueckner, efi Reggiani, Thies, etc, are ahead of other players and are ready to offer this solution to the industry.
Please share details of your last two fiscals, and your expectations from the coming two.
Our performance has been quite good in the last two fiscals and being a listed company, the details are available on the website. In spite of the market conditions, we expect that the Indian textiles industry as well as textile machinery industry would do well in the long term in spite of the pressure and the cyclical phases in the short term.
Do you plan to introduce machines with Internet of things (IoT)? How do you plan to expand your current range of product offerings in the future?
ITME 2016 is around the corner and obviously we would like to unwrap the plans of our principals during the same. We sincerely request all our customers to visit the booths of our principals to understand how we and our principals can support them through IIoT.