India is key market for Swiss textile machinery makers

India is key market for Swiss textile machinery makers

In this interview with Rakesh Rao during ITME 2022, Cornelia Buchwalder, Secretary General, Swiss Textile Machinery Association, and Secretary General, CEMATEX, shared her views on the partnership between India and Switzerland.

The Swiss Textile Machinery Association – the representative body for Switzerland’s producers of textile equipment, systems and services – is part of Swissmem, which is the leading association for both SMEs and major corporations in the Swiss technology industry. During India ITME 2022, Rakesh Rao spoke to Cornelia Buchwalder, Secretary General, Swiss Textile Machinery Association, and Secretary General, CEMATEX (an organisation comprising 9 national European textile machinery associations in the free market economy), to know her views on India and partnership between the two countries.

How do you see India as trading partner?

India was, is and will be a key market for Swiss textile machinery manufacturers. India is among top 3 markets for most of our members, who have been serving the local textile companies for many years through their manufacturing units and service centres in the country.

Besides spinning, which other segments offer big opportunities for Swiss companies?

While spinning continues to be the key market for Swiss machinery makers, they also have presence in knitting, weaving, nonwoven, etc. In addition, Swiss companies play a dominant role in the quality management and yarn testing segments.

Government of India has been pushing for technical textiles. How are Swiss companies looking at these developments?

Technical textiles have a compelling aura, but to it is challenging to establish successful business with new applications. Swiss textile machinery companies have expertise spanning many decades and have the proven track record of innovation which enable them to provide right solution for challenges faced by the textile industry. 

We are known for providing innovative and reliable solutions, which are very critical for the development of technical textiles that are used in a wide range of industries such as medical, agriculture, automotive, construction, sports, etc. Indian technical textiles industry can benefit by collaborating with Swiss textile machinery companies who have gained wealth of knowledge over the years.

How important are sustainability and circularity for textile industry?

While the talks about sustainability have been going for quite some time all over the world, adoption of eco-friendly technologies and processes varies from country-to-country and from company-to-company. Some have taken bold measures towards mitigating climate change, while others are still taking off.

European Union has taken strong policy interventions towards sustainability and Switzerland (though not a part of EU) has been closely following these developments. These regulations will have an impact not just on the final product (that enters EU region), but also on the entire ecosystem and supply chain. Swiss textile machinery manufacturers have been taking many measures towards sustainability of textile industry by developing innovative products and solutions. For example, if the machines are energy efficient, the textile manufacturing companies can reduce power consumption, which helps in reducing energy cost (so important today, given the soaring energy prices) and carbon footprint.

Governments across the world are also taking environment issues seriously now and are forcing industries to follow eco-friendly manufacturing processes. The textile industry, which fulfils one of the basic needs of the human being, has to be at the forefront of these changes. And Swiss textile machinery makers will act has a change agent towards sustainability and circularity.

How is your association collaborating with Indian institutes?

While our association and its members have been engaging with Indian institutes, we have now started institutional approach for collaboration with the first MoU being signed with DKTE’S Textile & Engineering Institute based at Ichalkaranji in the state of Maharashtra, at ITME 2022. It will be beneficial for Indian students as they can get access to the latest textile engineering technologies early on. 

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