Textile processing is one of the important industries related with textile manufacturing operations.
Textile processing is a general term that covers right from singeing (protruding fiber removal) to finishing and printing of fabric. The various steps a fabric goes into are singeing, desizing, bleaching, dyeing, and finishing.Bleaching is a process to make the fabric or yarn look brighter and whiter. Dyeing is a process of applying coloring matter directly on fiber without any additives.Finishing is the final process to impart the required end use finishes to the fabric and lastly the printing process on fabric which is a science as well as an art.Textile auxiliaries such as chemicals are used for all stages of the textile manufacturing process that is from pre-treatment to dyeing and printing and finishing.
The textile industry occupies a leading position in the hierarchy of the Indian manufacturing industry. It has witnessed several new directions in the era of liberalization. While textile exports are increasing and India has become the largest exporter in world trade in cotton yarn and is an important player of readymade garments, country’s international textile trade constitutes a mere 3% of the total world textile trade. Several mills have opted for modernization and expansion and are going in for export-oriented units (EOUs) focused on production of cotton yarn. It has passed through cyclical oscillations and at present, it is witnessing a recovery after a downturn.
Of the entire industry volume of about 5 million tonnes, polyester and polyester filament yarn account for about 1.7 million tonnes, and acrylic, nylon, and viscose taken together for 300,000 tonnes. The balance is represented by cotton textiles. A majority - some three fourths - of the textile mills are in the private sector. A few of the units are in the co-operative sector with the public sector (Central and State) accounting for about 15% of the total.
The textile industry is classified into (i) textile mills comprising composite and spinning mills in the organized segment, (ii) small powerloom and handloom units in the decentralized segment, (iii) khadi-based units, (iv)manmade and synthetic fibre and spinning units, v) knitting units, and (vi) made-ups (garments). Besides, the industry has a large number of small units scattered all over the country which are engaged in processing, dyeing and printing of yarn, fabrics and for conversion. The processing units include sizing, desizing, kiering, bleaching, mercerizing, dyeing, printing and finishing.
The country’s per capita consumption of woven cotton fabrics is estimated at around 16.5 meters. This has remained almost constant for quite some time with the increased production absorbed by the expansion in population. Yarn is produced by the mills in the organized segment but is consumed by powerloom and handloom segments as well. The production of cotton yarn is divided into three categories, namely, coarse counts below 20s, medium counts between 20s and 40s, and fine counts above 40s. The average count spun has increased from about 25 in early 1960s to about 34 in 1990s. This indicates a change in product-mix in favour of finer textiles and high value items.
The pattern of production of cloth in the textile industry is amazingly wide with regard to types of fabrics produced with different mono and mixed materials.
In the conventional ring spinning system, increasing spindle speed beyond a level was technologically difficult and economically non-feasible. The search for an alternative method of yarn manufacture led to the development of three new technologies, namely, rotor open-end, friction and air jet spinning. The spinning limits of the four technologies are 6-12, upto 30, 6-18, and 20-80, respectively.
A major improvement in weaving efficiency has been brought about by developments in spinning technology which has enabled production of yarn of higher quality. A major share of the looms installed in composite mills is now of automatic looms. However, autolooms installed in the decentralized and powerloom segments are small in number. Shuttleless technology, direct wrapping, use of splicing technology, automatic doffing and knotting systems, help to increase mill productivity. Speed of the auto looms or shuttleless looms is 60% higher than that of non-autolooms.
The textile industry has managed to modernise the spinning sector but there is a long way to go on the weaving front. India's power loom sector has over 10,000 shuttleless looms as compared to 150,000 in China. It may be recalled that India today is the third largest producer of cotton, second largest producer of cotton yarn and the largest exporter of cotton yarn in the world. The government has, under its new textile policy set an ambitious export target of $50 billion to be achieved by 2010.
The lead players in the Indian industry include Bombay Dyeing, Arvind Mills, Century Textiles, Coats Viyella, Morarji Gokuldas Spinning, JCT, Hindustan Spinning, etc.
While the Indian textile industry is a premier industry in India with a large domestic market and sizable exports (considering India's export earnings), it is still a small player in the global textile market. The global market is expanding (estimated to grow from $ 309 billion to $ 856 billion by 2014). India has several positive competitive strengths and can benefit from the global expansion. However, India will have to catch up with modernization by restructuring and upgrading its operations. It is an imperative and urgent need for the industry to focus on value added products. With the end of the Multi-fibre Agreement at the end of 2004, the potential is unlimited, if only the industry gets fully geared up to adopt global standards.