India is a very important market – this was demonstrated once again at the 11th India ITME in Noida/India in December 2023. The exhibition focuses on the needs of the Indian textile industry.
How do you assess the importance of the Indian market?
Simply because of its large population, India plays a major role for all international textile machinery manufacturers and also for us, for the Karl Mayer Group. In addition, the boundary conditions are right. In this country with its long textile tradition, there are large cotton and polyester suppliers, and there is no shortage of labor. However, the textile business could grow faster if the industry were more export-oriented, encouraged by the government.
Nevertheless, India has been gaining in importance for the entire Karl Mayer Group in recent years, especially for its business with warp knitting machines used in the clothing sector. Synthetic filaments are increasingly being used here. Knitting machines are predestined for processing them. With incentive systems and a targeted support policy, the Indian government wants to further expand the market for synthetic fabrics in the Indian garment industry.
The current global situation plays into the hands of this development. Multinational brands are looking for cost-efficient and high-quality offers and can find them with Indian suppliers of quality knitted fabrics. To meet this demand, the currently installed capacities can be diversified and expanded by investing in various warp knitting machines.
Karl Mayer Group's warp preparation Business Unit has been successful in India for many years and is also experiencing a sense of optimism and a good investment climate in its markets in India. The reasons for this are also changes in sourcing behavior within the value chain away from China and towards alternative suppliers, as well as support programs from the state and local governments.
India is an important sales region for the Stoll flat knitting machine business of the Karl Mayer Group, but it is not a classic volume market like Turkey, for example. A clear strategy is being pursued in the face of strong competition: Stoll scores with machines offering good price-performance ratio and all-round service for its customers. How do you do justice to the importance of the Indian market?
We have a strong local presence with 2 subsidiaries. Karl Mayer Stoll India Pvt. Ltd. operates from locations in Mumbai, Noida, Ludhiana, Tiruppur and Surat, and offers customers services, fast delivery of spare parts, training through the Academy and machine presentations in showrooms in some of these locations. In Ahmedabad, the Karl Mayer Group also maintains its own production site in the form of Karl Mayer Textile Machinery India Pvt. Ltd. This is where the Isowarp sectional warping machine is built for the Indian market. Customers benefit from the high quality of all products made by Karl Mayer, and also from the advantages of investing in national currency and from reliability in the supply of spare parts and support.
The Karl Mayer Group can also rely on a close-knit service network for all its business units to provide competent and rapid support. We have just extended our webshop offer for the online procurement of spare parts in India. Now, in addition to Indian warp knitting customers, warp preparation customers can also obtain supplies of the most important parts at the click of a mouse.
What are the most promising markets in India?
The warp knitting business in India has so far been dominated by tricot fabrics for apparel, mosquito nets and footwear fabrics. In the coming period, we expect demand to increase for goods for active and sportswear and other knitted fabrics such as lace for lingerie, home textiles, jacquard fabrics and elastic and rigid apparel textiles. In the home textiles market, we offer alternatives in terms of sustainability and efficiency compared with woven counterparts, particularly in the cotton terry sector. The textile shading solution sector is also promising, if only because of the climate conditions in India.
The apparel and footwear fabric markets are also very interesting for the knitting machine sector.
The most important customers for technical knitted fabrics are the construction industry - where geotextiles are firmly established, especially in road and rail network construction - and the wind power sector. In the generation of wind energy, multiaxial fabrics are used as reinforcements for composites in the blades of wind turbines.
The interview was conducted by Ulrike Schlenker, editor-in-chief of my Textile News with Kevin Socha, Managing Director of Karl Mayer (H.K.) Ltd., Hong Kong/China.