Ice in Technical Textiles
By : Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar
It has been nearly 7 years since Government of India started promoting technical textiles in India. This occurred with the initial awareness programs in Surat and Ahmedabad organized by the Office of Textile Commissioner. Coincidentally, during the same time frame, the USA based Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA) organized its nonwovens training workshop in Mumbai. Ever since these pioneering efforts, other players such as FICCI and CII have undertaken efforts in promoting awareness and creating platforms for business opportunities. With all these efforts, why has the Nonwovens and Technical Textiles (NWTT) sector not gone on a high gear? The success to the government program, such as the National Mission on Technical Textiles depends ultimately on the investments and job creation. What should we, as stakeholders do in order to grow this technical textiles sector?
NUMBERS ARE THERE: WHAT NEXT?
Ever since I have been involved in the nonwovens and technical textiles field, year after year, we have been seeing growth numbers which are at least on par or in excess of the global economic growth numbers. Most recently, Brussels based European Nonwovens Association (EDANA) came up with growth numbers for the nonwovens industry. According to EDANA, for two subsequent years, nonwovens industry registered growth over 5%. In 2010, the growth in terms of volume was 10.9% and it slowed down to 5.7% in 2011. Spunmelt technology which includes spunbond, meltblown and combinations thereof registered a high growth of over 9% in 2010 and 2011. Important market segments include baby diapers, medical products, wipes, mobiltex, agrotextiles and geotextiles. The interesting news of all is that Chinas export to the European Union increased by 24% over the previous year.
This above statistics points us to certain important aspects: 1) even with global economic slowdown, the nonwovens and technical textiles industry is constantly recording growth; 2) the growth is driven by domestic consumption and 3) this sector is also an important export earner.
The above 5% growth in the past two years wherein the economic growth was about 1% in developed world, tells that the NWTT sector, because of the nature and the type of products it develops, has a positive growth. Assuming that the GDP growth in India and China would be about 5% using the growth equation for the NWTT witnessed in North America and Europe, this sector should grow about 20% in developing world. Our growth prediction in 2008 and subsequent reports by the Government of India clearly points us to the direction that one growth of the Indian NWTT sector should be at least in double digits.