A dye which is a colored substance has an affinity to the substrate to which it is being applied. The dye is generally applied in an aqueous solution, and may require a mordant to improve the fastness of the dye on the fiber. On the other hand, pigment is a coloring matter, usually in the form of an insoluble powder that is mixed with oil, water, etc. to make paint. The pigment lays on the surface and becomes part of the dry film. Dyes like acid dye, basic dye, mordant dye, vat dyes, reactive dyes etc are all used in textile industry for different purposes.
The dyestuffs industry has nearly 1000 units manufacturing dyes, dyestuffs and pigments with a capacity to produce 75,000 to 80,000 tonnes per annum of textile dyes and organic pigments. The capacity for production of pigments is estimated to be 40,000 tpa, half of which is in the small scale sector. The number of units is the largest in a single country worldwide and is a case of too little being produced by too many. In this large spread of units, there are only about 146 units in the organized sector with an installed capacity of 58,700 tpa, covering over 75% of the total installed capacity in the country. Of these, 40 are fairly large in size. In terms of production, the organized sector contributes about two-thirds.
The total market is estimated at over Rs 50 billion, of which, the market for organic pigments is estimated at Rs 3 billion. The market in quantitative terms is made up of basic dyes, azo acid and direct dyes; disperse dyes, fast colour bases, reactive dyes, sulphur dyes, vat dyes, organic pigments, naphthols, optical brightners and others. Nearly 80,000 tonnes of the materials are imported and a quarter of the domestic production is exported annually. The overall market is expanding at around 6.5% as of now. The dye markets are mostly dominated by reactive and disperse dyes. The demand for reactive and disperse dyes is expected to grow in future as these two dyes are dominant in all the regions.
Globally, China, Taiwan, India, Japan, Korea and Pakistan are the major dyestuff producing countries in the Industry. In terms of market share, Europe is the leading producer due to its allegiance towards specialty products and the countries in Europe have remained the largest players owing to specialty products.
The industry has a blend of Indian enterprise and the MILLIONCs existing side by side. Atul Products, Sudarshan Chemical Industries, Jaysynth Dyechem, Mardia Chemicals and several others have secured a niche in the market place among the Indian enterprises. The million companies have also come to play a dominant role such as IDI (formerly ICI), Ciba Speciality Chemicals (India), Clariant India.
The industry experts are of the view that those capable of consolidation and achieving critical mass have the inherent strength to win. The companies with global reach and backed by technology with resources to strengthen R&D, are expected to march ahead. Others are likely to fade away as market demands ever new solutions.
India exports mainly to US, Europe and the far East. Exports from India make for 4% to 5% of global trade in dyes and pigments. The comparative advantage of cheap labour, intelligent manpower, well qualified pool of scientists and grasp of technology are expected to open up new vistas for the industry on the export front. World demand for dyes and organic pigments is forecast to grow at around 6.5%.
The future of dye and dyestuff, a part of chemical industry has good prospects in the coming years owing to its high demand.The growth of dye sector in the future will continues to depend on the performance of end user industries like paints, textiles, printing inks, paper, plastics and foodstuffs. The changing customer preferences, boom and expansion of infrastructure in India will create new market opportunities for the dye industry.