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Knitting Makes the Good Times Better & The Hard Time Easier

Birender Singh

Birender Singh

India’s predominantly cotton-based textile industry has faced several challenges recently owing to higher tariffs imposed on Indian textile products in all major international markets compared to competing nations. Undue delay in disbursing ‘technology upgradation fund scheme’ subsidies, volatility, and uncertainty in cotton prices, a sudden glut in the synthetic yarn market, and closure of dyeing units in northern states resulting in accumulation of fabric stock in different power look clusters have added to the crisis of the sector. Due to poor demand for yarn exports resulting in a collection of yarn stock and liquidity problems.

R. Girirajan, Managing Director of Siruvani Clothing Pvt. Ltd., Tirupur, strongly feels that “Appropriate engineering controls in textile processing areas along with work practices can solve many problems in the Textile Sector. He shares his journey in the industry as a pioneer in many segments. 

Q1. Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Ans. I am Girirajan, manufacturer of Fancy Yarns and all types of technical textiles related to home textiles & knitwear. We are into Handlooms as well. We make primarily sustainable products. We focus mainly on recycled polyester, cotton, jute, linen, and all types of natural fibers. Using this, we make all types of fancy yarns. Our strength is whatever pontoon numbers are given, we will convert them into yarn and fabric. Any buyers give pontoon shades & themes; we will convert them into yarn. We can match any shade and concept. We can develop the shade within 24 hours. We can give in the fabric form. 

Q2. We see the textile industry faces huge challenges related to environmental issues. According to you, which is the biggest challenge, and what could be the remedy for it?

Ans. We have almost become sustainable. For example, pertaining to cotton – whatever waste the cotton generated in the spinning mills is now used 100% in the open-end sector. In the open-end unit, whatever waste is coming out is going for making Pillows, Beds, etc.; whatever the spinning sector consumes, the raw material has been used. 

Q3. What about recycling in the case of polyester fibers?

Ans. Per month we consume around 40,000 kgs of polyester fibers. For making one kg of fiber, 40 pet bottles have been used. We are consuming almost 16 lacs of pet bottles per month in one unit, and we may be doubling this capacity in the next year. Whatever yarns we manufacture, the yarns do not need to go for Dyeing because we mix the dyed fiber in the process.

Also, in Dyeing, in Tirupur, all have gone for 100% zero discharge recycling plant. So, they also use 80% to 90% of water and about 10% evaporate. So, as far as India is concerned, we were able to reuse most of the products. Only the challenging part is the post-consumer waste, and we need the correct technology for this. So, the remedy depends on the corrective measures.  

Q4. Which are termed as Textile Waste?

Ans. When you talk about spinning mills, when you mix cotton and polyester and make a particular yarn, waste is generated in every stage, like blow room, carding, etc. The waste will be collected and sent to the open-end unit. What we make is a Ring spinning system, and whatever waste generated here goes to the open-end unit, where they make a coastal type of yarn. Even this yarn is used for the knitted application now.

The cutting waste from the garments has been segregated color-wise and reopened once again and mixed with the recycled polyester. Once this yarn is made, it is again converted to fabric. So, that type of technology had already come to India. In fact, we have been importing the cutting waste from Bangladesh & Vietnam, which means we are already using 100% of all the waste.

Q5. Can you say something about Textile Recycling & reuse?

Ans. Awareness has come. Now, in Tamil Nadu, particularly in Tirupur & Coimbatore, we have been using it for the past 5 to 6 years. This is not the case in Maharashtra; even now, they are letting the water into the ocean and nearby rivers. That is why we cannot play a level game as they give a lower price. Prices in the north will normally be cheaper, but people are coming to the south only because of the quality of the product. So, TN, by reusing all the products AND totally became sustainable now. The Zero Discharge Dyeing – all spinning mills are not wasting a single kilo of raw material.

Q6. What is a Circular Economy?

Ans. We make fabric from yarn – fabric to waste is coming – this waste is reopened and remixed and turned into yarn, this is the yarn circular economy. Also, in the post-consumer world, the garment that is used is getting disposed of after quite a period. That waste is again taken back, cut, and made into fiber and then into yarn again, which is the challenge. Chemical treatment is needed as the solution.

Q7. Is there anyone in the market doing it successfully?

Ans. Already HNM has taken initiative. They are taking the post-consumer waste and converting it into viscose fiber, and the project cost is very high, something close to 25 to 30 thousand crores. In the future, this technology might come to India also.

Q8. Can you share something about Sustainable Textiles?

Ans. Wherever you will be using recyclable material, it is sustainable. A minimum of 20% of the recyclable material in any product, then it comes under the GRS concept. In a normal product, if 20% of the recyclable material is used, the quality should be on par with the best fibers. Even using natural fiber like cotton and linen – using natural fiber is also a sustainable textile only. 

Q9. How could the industry be in the days ahead – business-wise in 2022 – 2023?

Ans. Now a lot of people are aware of the reusing of materials. Compared to last year, reusable materials’ usage has increased almost two times. Overall there will be around a 10% to 15% increase in sustainable materials. Now, the usage cycle of single garments by the people was more. On one side, there is mass production & on the other side, people want to increase the life of the product, but we need to balance and sustain profitability.

Q10. What are the current market dynamics in yarn?

Ans. Multinationals are inside the market. Cotton price is lower in Bangladesh. When someone from Europe wants to place an order – obviously they choose a place where it is very cheap. Multinationals play with the MCX and take undue advantage and increase the price of the raw materials. Those MCXs will be banned. Cotton has nothing to do with the Indian market. Even though India is sell-sufficient itself, it is being exported to Bangladesh, China, and other countries when the cotton has been manufactured. Finally, the result is we end up in a shortage of cotton now. 

The whole textile value chain system got disturbed today. Spinning Mills are not running properly because of the cotton shortage, garment people are not getting proper orders, and the whole value chain got disturbed today because of the increase in cotton prices. 

Q11. What are the latest trends in this industry?

Ans. Today, most spinning mills are in a difficult position and facing difficult times. Europe and the US are in the recession stage. The demand is very less for the export business, and only the local market is giving some business for garment people. Overall, the demand is only 30%, whereas the supply of yarn is 200%. A spinning mill can serve three people – Yarn Exports, Garment Exporters & the Local market. Now, yarn export is not there; garment exports are not there – In the local market, only 60% of demand is there. Looking at overall demand, it is only 20% to 30% across. The change in this market purely depends on the recovery of Europe & US. 

Though the first and second waves of the pandemic dealt a blow to the export garment sector, the third wave of covid has offered certain advantages. Tirupur’s multi-billion dollar garment industry has survived another wave of Covid without lockdowns or large-scale desertion of guest workers. Even though relaxing some norms of lockdown has not hindered sales, yarn price rise and increase in input costs are pulling down the sector, especially for domestic players and small and medium units. However, with enough inquiries coming in from overseas buyers, adopting advanced procedures will add to the profit in the textile sector.