Anshumali Jain, Managing Partner, Texbond Nonwovens, in an interaction with Sudhakar Singh, Editor, Industry Outlook, shares his insights on how the nonwoven fabrics market is shifting towards sustainability, the imperative of value addition, adoption of digital manufacturing and more.
The global nonwoven fabrics market size is projected to be worth more than 65 billion USD by 2030. How do you see this market evolving in India?
The nonwoven fabric
market in India has been at the low end and prior to Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for value added fabrics was almost non-existent. The Indian market will remain by and large a low value mass market. Although there is a certain demand for functional fabrics
and value added fabrics, but that remains very minuscule with no sign of change. Most of the Indian clients still prefer cheap products, and opt for price over quality.
How is Texbond Nonwovens positioned in the nonwoven fabrics market?
Texbond Nonwovens has been evolving with time and our focus has shifted from the Indian market to the overseas market. From being a 100% domestic sales company, we have now reached a point of about 80% exports. Today, Texbond is working hard on a lot of developments and also in the special function fabrics segment. With the impetus provided by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have made a fair amount of investments and continue to do so in the direction of going up the value chain on fabrics.
There is a transition happening in the industry towards the usage of recycled polymer and fibers with the move towards zero waste manufacturing. How do you see this shift towards sustainability?
At Texbond Nonwovens, we continuously strive to drive down our power requirement and have more efficient mechanisms in place, wherein the need for power is reduced.
We are also moving towards new power sources like green power and thermal power to reduce our carbon footprint across the board.
As far as recycling is concerned, we continue to be a zero waste company; the only waste which comes out of Texbond is domestic waste. We make sure that everything else is recycled, reused and not disposed of as waste.
In the days ahead, differentiation is going to be measured in terms of added value achieved through smart structures and chemical treatments, which impart new properties. How challenging is value addition in this segment?
As far as the Indian market is concerned, technology is not the key challenge. The industry is very aware and capable of implementing novel technologies. However, the challenge which remains pertains to the market. In India, because of the lack of knowledge with the existing structures and systems in place, we compromise on performance for price. For value addition of any sort, this mindset needs to be changed. Moreover, strong implementation needs to be made in private as well as public organizations.
Unlike India, we see a very different mindset in the developed Western countries. Even in some of the Eastern countries now, like China, people have understood and the government procurement is done on very strong parameters and not just by tendering.
So, the challenge remains in terms of developing the consciousness for the value addition and willingness to pay for the performance of the product. The industry is very capable, and in the process has moved towards exports and we are now working on a variety of different applications. I am happy to say that our innovations are very well received in overseas markets, and we continue to search domestic applications and domestic buyers for the same.
Looking into the future, nonwoven production seems perfectly poised for process engineering approach and utilizing automation. How do you see the adoption of digital manufacturing in non-woven production?
A large part of non woven manufacturing is fairly automated. To begin with, if we look at the parameters of labor required per kilo, it’s one of the lowest in any product making. Automation continues to make improvements with the next generation machinery. I think digitization, automation and AI will have more important roles to play in product technology. This is where I think there is a scope for a huge amount of automation and reduction of labor; thereby leading to a more efficient work environment.
What is the future roadmap for Texbond Nonwovens?
Texbond Nonwovens continues to bet big on the future of nonwoven in India and around the world. We are set to triple our capacity soon, while adding several value added technologies to produce different varieties of technical textiles and specific function fabrics. Furthermore, we continue to invest in green technologies and in green power with a vision for a sustainable future.