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Feel of product remains undeterred with our tech

Sep 01, 2020
Feel of product remains undeterred with our tech

Donear Industries Limited is well-recognised in India and outside as one of the best-quality product makers and innovators, who have been in the business for 40+ years. The promoters treat textiles as the Group’s core business and have been putting best efforts to grow year on year. It has production capacity of around 55 lakh meters per month with latest technologies and machinery at Surat. Apart from being a leader in India, Donear also has a strong presence in 30+ countries globally. With a comprehensive product basket, the conglomerate has different textile brands under its portfolio including Donear, GBTL (formerly GRASIM Suitings), Graviera, OCM to name a few; and D’Cot & Donear NXG apparel brands with positive cash flow.

Rajendra Agarwal, Managing Director, Donear Industries, shares information on the collaboration with Swiss innovator HeiQ, and demand of the products in India.

Tell us more about your collaboration with Swiss innovator HeiQ?
Given the current scenario of the fashion and lifestyle category, adapting to the ‘new normal’ is the need of the hour. Being a market leader in innovation and excellence, the Donear Group, using NEO TECH technology, has conceived products that are high quality, utilitarian and have a shield against bacteria and viruses alike.

Known for their pioneering efforts, NEO TECH has partnered with HeiQ, a Swiss company, to power up its suiting and worsted fabrics with an intelligent textile technology – HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03. HeiQ creates some of the most effective, durable and high-performance textile effects in the market today, which lasts up to 30 washes.

HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 is among the first textile technologies in the world to be proven and certified effective against SARS-CoV-2. Tests conducted by them in Melbourne, showed that treated fabric achieved 99.99 per cent reduction of the virus.

The group is very confident that the combined power of NEO TECH and HeiQ Viroblock will prove to be a game-changer for the Indian textile industry, especially in the performance fabrics category.

Donear partnered with Zodiac to launch revolutionary new product range: anti-viral shirts called SECURO. Tell us more about it.
As you are aware, both companies - ZODIAC, a premium men’s clothing brand with a rich legacy spanning six decades and Donear Group – Donear, GBTL (formerly known as GRASIM) and OCM, are leading players in the apparel and textile space respectively with a stronghold across the breadth of the nation.

This collaboration of these two powerhouses ushers a new way ahead for the clothing industry where technology- led garments will be available to the Indian consumer paving the way for a revolution in the market – of safe choices and quality technology-driven products. The fabric for the Securo range of shirts has been finished by Donear and certified by HeiQ providing 99.99 per cent protection against bacteria and viruses, including the virus that causes CoVid-19 (SARS CoVid-2).

The ‘SECURO’ range from ZODIAC retains its properties for 30 home washes. The fabric is safe for human contact and on the environment and has been tested by HeiQ with the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity Melbourne, Australia. The SECURO anti viral shirt range is available at all ZODIAC Stores and online only at www.zodiaconline.com.

This partnership would enrich the future of stitched apparels and fine shirtings as we adapt to the new normal. The products will certainly make the wearer feel safe and secure.

So how is the demand for these products? Are expecting rise in demand? Have you expanded your facility to produce these fabrics?
This niche product is garnering interest from our B2B and B2C customers alike. From a B2B standpoint, we have been approached by various institutions, corporates and state police departments for enquiries and orders.

From a B2C standpoint, our robust dealer and retailer network are very enthusiastic and optimistic about this product and to gain a distinct advantage with it for their customers. We had a well-planned production process pre-launch to account for the demand, and we have been able to manufacture at the pace intended.

How foolproof is this whole process? Is anti-viral fabric enough to safeguard the wearer from a severe virus like SARS-CoV-19?
Being in the textile industry, we wanted to find an effective way to combat this and to ensure people felt ‘safe’ in what they wore. What we have achieved is revolutionary and path breaking technology for the suitings space through a breakthrough combination of two synergistic technologies:

  • Patented and registered silver technology for antiviral and antibacterial effect: Small silver particles are potent antibacterial and antiviral agents due to high surface area to volume ratio and unique chemical and physical properties. Like a magnet, silver attracts the oppositely charged viruses and binds permanently to their sulfur groups (forming silver sulfide) the virus is immobilised.
  • Fatty vesicle technology as a booster that mechanically destroys viruses: The vesicle technology helps to deplete the viral membrane of its cholesterol content thereby destroying the virus
  • One main advantage of our technology is that the touch and feel of the product remains undeterred. This is a revelation because normally when fabrics/suitings are treated with these technologies they become very coarse.

    NEO TECH and HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 is among the first textile technologies in the world to be proven effective against SARS-CoV-2 in the laboratory. Tests conducted by them in Melbourne, Australia showed that treated fabric achieved 99.99 per cent reduction of the virus.

    The research project involved a disinfection test protocol simulating real-life interaction of small aerosol droplets contaminating clothing with a known concentration of SARS-CoV-2 virus. The virus was contacted with the sample fabric for a few minutes followed by measurement of remaining infectious SARS-CoV-2 viruses.

    When the fabric sample was treated with NEO TECH and HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03, no infective viruses left after a few minutes and the result indicated a SARS-CoV-2 virus reduction of 99.99 per cent relative to the inoculum control.

    In addition, certified by modified ISO 20743 Test, proven effective against human coronavirus (229E) with 99.997 per cent reduction, this technology is suitable for all fiber types. Furthermore, the fabric is certified by ISO 18184 test, showcasing strong antiviral and antibacterial effect against enveloped viruses and bacteria; and modified ISO 20743 displaying residual virus infectivity and providing self-sanitising and germ resistant surface.

    We have been innovating with this fabric pre-COVID era as well and have been supplying to top brands and institutions worldwide. I am sure that with this new advanced technology, we will be effectively able to meet the demands of providing protection in poly viscose and worsteds during and post the COVID era too.

    Right now the company has launched only shirts. Is there any plans to expand it to other range as well?
    We are pioneers in fabric manufacturing – be it cotton, poly viscose or worsteds. Therefore, the array of end-garmenting through this fabrics is vast. They can be used for suits, jackets, trousers, shirts, skirts, overcoats, outerwear, uniforms and converted into a host of accessories of which the current demand is for masks.

    Therefore, the spectrum of end-product offerings is very large. We have been told by numerous retail buyers and by institutions alike that they are extremely impressed with the product and are sure to make repeat purchases.

    Since we have been pioneering in textile technology since pre-COVID, we are very certain about the quality that we want to offer. For all our products we have clearly written this message about combating bacteria and viruses in the selvedge for customers to know and remain assured that they’re buying a good and tested product.

    There are no reports saying that coronavirus can even enter through other natural or even synthetic fibers. So what makes your product so unique?
    The main aim of producing these fabrics has been safety. We were the first textile manufacturer to push this product in the market as early as April 2020. Metaphorically, everyone these days wears a mask – which acts as an added layer of safety – preventive and protective. Similarly, for added protection, these fabrics will act like a mask for your body.

    As stated earlier, in conjunction with HEIQ Viroblock, these fabrics.

    What sets our product apart is that it kills the viruses and microbes within minutes, thereby reducing the risk of contamination drastically. The product has been tested and certified by various world-renowned labs including the prestigious ISO 18184 rapid test.

    Is the government providing any support? What are your expectations from the government?
    The Government has been very reassuring with their support for local/homegrown brands. It’s opened up many gateways for Indian brands. Also, one of the main reasons for the slump in demand for the textile industry has been the rapidly falling consumption pattern of the middle class and the rural belts.

    The budget has certainly opened up avenues to boost purchasing power. By elevating the prevailing socio-economic condition, it will increase the disposable income of the middle class. Also, it is notable that the textile industry has been one of the leading employment generators in the nation. With easing up business operations and aiding technological developments, there are definitely opening up other avenues for indigenous manufacturers. Simpler procedures will definitely enable textile companies to invest in product extensions.

    Additionally, the National Technical Textile Mission aims to bolster indigenous production capabilities and at the same time promote eco-sustainable solutions for waste management. With imports being drastically cut down, there is less opportunity for new entrants and strengthens the position of local players who can fill those niches.

    Therefore, there are good tidings expected for the textile industry from a consumption, an employment generation and boosting demand standpoint.