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Automation is important for Indian spinning industry

May 01, 2021
Automation is important for Indian spinning industry

Today, Indian spinning industry faces a daunted task of producing high quality yarn cost-competitively and by using least resources. In this interview, C Kamatchisundaram, Vice President - Textile Machinery Division (TMD), Voltas Ltd, explains the importance of modern machinery and technologies for spinners for maintaining productivity at highest levels.

How is Voltas serving the Indian spinning industry?

Voltas has been present in the textiles industry for over 6 decades now and is probably the single most valuable resource supporting the industry on a continuous basis. We represent more than 30 principals, offering end-to-end products and solutions across the gamut of spinning and post-spinning needs. These alliances have not only helped Voltas’ Textile Machinery Division (TMD) to offer the state-of-the-art technologies to the market but also services that go beyond the customer expectations.

Voltas offers the entire range of products needed for the spinning industry. Our key Principal in the spinning industry is Lakshmi Machine Works (LMW), who is a global leader in spinning machinery industry. LMW is one of the only three manufacturers in the globe who offer the entire range of spinning machinery from Blowroom to spinning. LMW offers cutting edge technology products and solutions, which caters to the needs of different segments in the industry irrespective or the size. More than 60 per cent of the investment in the Indian spinning industry takes place through equipment manufactured by our Principal LMW. It is quite pertinent to mention here that more than 70% of the yarn produced in the country is through the machinery supplied by LMW.

We have a comprehensive product suite of accessories and the replaceable needed for the spinning industry. We offer ring travellers from our Principals Lakshmi Ring Travellers (LRT) and card clothing needed for the carding machines from Lakshmi Card Clothing (LCC). Both LRT and LCC are leaders in their respective field, serving the customers for more than five decades.

We also offer specialty lubricants from Klueber, which not only enhance the lubricant cycles but also improve the performance of the machinery. In addition, we offer various other allied machinery 

How is Voltas helping Indian spinners to overcome manufacturing challenges?

The major need of the customers is to produce quality yarn at the highest productivity levels at competitive cost and using least resources. Our Principals LMW offer the smart series of machinery to meet all the above needs. The smart series of machinery from LMW employ innovative technology, have built in automation and built with user friendly features enabling customers reduce the dependence on labour. These machineries have set new benchmarks on productivity, quality of yarn, power conservation, resource needs etc.

The smart and capable engineers of Voltas add further value to the customers by supporting in them in all sphere of activities in the operation of the mills.

While cotton-based value chain dominates the Indian textile industry, the Government of India (GoI) aims to increase the contribution of manmade fibre (MMF) based textile products in the industry. What kind of opportunities will this shift offer to spinning technology/solution providers like Voltas?

The Indian textile industry is majorly cotton focussed at a rate of 60:40 for cotton and synthetic. If we exclude synthetic filaments and look at the ratio only based the products made from fibres, the ratio would be further skewed in favour of cotton at 75:25. Accordingly, the export of garments and apparels from India is mainly cotton based. The GoI and the Indian textile industry have realised the need to increase its focus on the export potential in the synthetic sector to improve the global market share.

The GoI has announced Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore to promote manufacturing and export of synthetic textiles and technical textiles. The ‘Make in India’ programme is expected to gain further momentum in synthetic textiles. Hence, we opine that investments in synthetic textile manufacture would accelerate in the coming years. This will bring along good opportunities for Voltas, as the company is favourably positioned to encash on it. Voltas’ strategy to offer both capital equipment and after sales has helped it become a ‘one-stop’ solution provider. The company’s comprehensive portfolio of products and solutions add weightage to its services. For example, the spinning machinery offered by our Principals LMW is the most favoured by the manmade yarn spinning mills in the synthetic clusters like Bhilwara and Hyderabad. We already have a good inflow of enquiries for investments in synthetic textile manufacture and we have also finalised quite a no of orders including megaproject for synthetic yarn manufacture in Western region.

The card clothing offered by our Principals LCC and the ring travellers offered by LRT are the most preferred options by manmade yarn producers. Similarly, the circular knitting machines offered by our principals Terrot is the preferred machine for manufacture of Active wear products across the globe and hence any new investor in active wear manufacture in India would obviously look at Terrot as the first choice. We are already in advanced level of discussions with few players for investments in active wear.

 

Automation and digitalisation are gaining across the textile industry. How is Voltas with its array of solutions and technologies helping the textile mills in India in their journey towards modernisation?

Once considered limited only to handicrafts, textiles have now become a highly urbane, scientific and engineering activity of new types of fibers and technologies. A wave of innovation that has hit the textile industry is the coming of Industry 4.0 - automation and introduction of artificial intelligence in the textile machinery sector.

 

The Industry 4.0 is a very generic term. If you have to classify the activities that go in to Industry 4.0, then it is automation, which includes robotics. The second part is remote monitoring of the equipment through networking (which is IIoT), which includes predictive analysis and collect a wealth of data on performance (which is called big data). The third but most important part is to use analytics and artificial intelligence to derive insights from the big data and rapidly deploying corrective/preventing actions for improvement. The fourth part is to digitize the designs/ product samples through virtual samples to manufacture customized products. The fifth part in Industry 4.0 is how we make the business transaction happen leveraging technology to reduce the cycle time of purchase and to enhance the purchasing experience. These could be online quote generation, online order placement, online tracking of the orders, etc. The above are few examples and the opportunities to leverage Industry 4.0 are abundant.

 

Our Principals, LMW, has been a front runner in offering Industry 4.0 solutions. In fact, LMW was the first to offer automation for ring frames, speed frames and automatic transport of material from the blowroom to the carding machine. Automation has become an integral part of the spinning industry today. If a spinning industry is not invested in automation, it is going to be difficult to sustain, going forward.

 

As you know, availability of labour is a major problem and with the second wave of COVID-19, the industry may see an exodus of migrant labour. This has made the industry to look at automation as a solution. It is not something which is good to have, but it has become a need of the hour. In monitoring and controlling the equipment through IIoT, LMW was the first to offer networking of the entire plant. The current state of IoT allows the investors to monitor the power consumption as well. Similarly, LMW was the first to introduce “Online ordering of parts and components” and it was launched before a decade. It is pertinent to mention here that more than 90% of the orders received by our Principals LMW now are through the aforesaid system.

Our principals in knitting, processing and finishing sectors also have made tremendous strides in serving the customers leveraging Industry 4.0. Nevertheless, it is continuous journey and expected to make huge changes in the way a plant is designed, monitored, managed and controlled to achieve the business goals.


What are the emerging trends in spinning technologies?

A variety of new spinning technologies have been introduced to in the past few years to match up with the technology of ring spinning. Interestingly, the ring spinning remains unmatched in terms of quality and continues to dominate the markets.

 

Air-jet spinning and friction spinning are used in specific markets, while the open-end rotor system has been quite popular in spinning of coarse counts. This can be attributed to these systems obtaining tremendous increase in the production as compared to ring spinning. Our principals LMW are in advanced stages of an innovative and high technology Airjet spinning machine to the market.

 

 

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