Wednesday, May 20, 2009

[ Research & Devolpment Efforts in Technical Textiles at MANTRA.]

Centre of Excellence in Technical Textiles at MANTRA.

As a part of Gujarat Industrial Policy, 2003, Government has set up various Development Councils, including textile sectors, for continuously interacting with industries and identifying the needs for the growth of the textile industry in Gujarat. Technical Textiles/Non-wovens was discussed extensively in the Development Council meeting, held on 16.09.2005 at Gandhinagar. Shri Rajagopalan, Principal Secretary (I&M), proposed for constitution of a separate Working Group for Technical Textiles with Shri A.N. Jariwala, Vice-President, MANTRA, as Convener to decide and suggest the road map for promotion of technical textiles in Gujarat. Four meetings of Working Group were held on 03.12.05, 05.01.06, 03.03.06 and 25.04.06, respectively.

Committee prepared a comprehensive report as per the guidelines and scope. Committee identified woven (coating & laminating) & non-woven technologies suitable for Gujarat keeping in mind the raw material and facilities available in the region. The Committee identified and agreed on the development of two specific clusters, viz., at Surat and Ahmedabad for technical textiles. The Committee identified three thrust areas, viz., (i) R&D and product development in technical textiles (coating & laminating & non-wovens) and testing facilities; (ii) Pilot Plant in technical textiles; and (iii) Human Resource Development.

In the 4th meeting of the Working Group on Technical Textiles, held under the chairmanship of Shri D. Rajagopalan, Principal Secretary, Industries & Mines Department, Government of Gujarat, on 25.04.06, Shri D. Rajagopalan ascertained that separate thrust and focus will be given to technical textiles as this industry can have existence in SMEs and generate huge employment and earn foreign exchange as well. In this meeting, it was also agreed upon for setting up of Centers of Excellence in Technical Textiles at MANTRA, Surat, focusing the felt need of the clusters.

Accordingly, MANTRA had prepared a proposal for Centre of Excellence for nonwoven (spunbond, spunlace, coating & laminating) pertaining to man-made textile yarns and fibres. Other considerations, which have been taken into account are: technical consultancy to manufacturing unit, analysis of existing technology status and suggestion for additional requirements/improvements, to conduct case study, seminars and awareness programme., Facilities with accredited labs shall be must for quality appraisal, particularly for export. Centres of Excellence will provide back up support to the industry, complex products of technical textiles in emerging areas need to be developed on a pilot scale and the technology will be transferred to the industry after standardisation and optimisation of the production process. As regards setting-up of Centre of Excellence in Technical Textiles (Non-woven), what MANTRA needs to add to these facilities are (i) pilot plant for coating and laminating for both woven, non-woven and knitted synthetic and man-made fabrics, and (ii) pilot plant for non-woven fabric on spunjet technology, i.e., spunbond, hydroentangling and spunlace.

MANTRA’s proposal for Centre of Excellence in Technical Textiles was submitted to the Government of Gujarat with priority basis, the first phase being coating & laminating facilities along with infrastructure for quality appraisal and HRD programme. In the meeting held with Shri D. Rajagopalan, PS (IM), Government of Gujarat, at Gandhinagar, on 29.12.06, MANTRA’s proposal with following details has been approved with a condition that in-house contribution should be 20% in equipments and 10% in core machinery.


Rs. in crores



Coating and laminating machines with embossing station, rollers, dryers, cure chamber and winder.

Rs.3.00 Crores.


Circular knitting machine. Rs.0.84 Crores

Total of (A) Rs.3.84


Laboratory equipments. Rs.1.07 Crores.


HRD programme. Rs.0.15 Crores.


Electrification & other accessories, etc.


Grand Total (A+B + C + D) Rs6.11

In-house contribution = (5.4 x 0.10) + (1.07 x 0.20) = Rs.0.71 crore(approx.)


Coating and laminating are textile finishing processes designed to add or improve function and to add value to woven, non-woven and knitted fabrics or to create a finished fabric with specific properties. Coated and laminated textiles cut across all industry segments, viz., filtration, conveyor belts, luggage, furniture, tarpaulin, protective clothing, geo textiles, sports, medicine, air bags, hoardings, defense textiles, etc.

All the raw materials like polyester, polyamide, PP, acrylic fibres are available in Surat along with finishes like PVC, PU, Neoprene, anti-microbial, FR, waterproof, etc. Further, all the pre-weaving and weaving machines, viz., rapier, water jet, air jet, and finishing facilities with stenter are also available. What we basically need is coating and laminating facilities. Implementation of this project is faster, quicker, need based. So, it was decided to go for coating facilities in the first phase, so that existing industry cluster can avail the facilities for diversification and value addition in their products.


Facilities under Phase-1, which will be available at MANTRA, will be a source of technology development, information gathering and manpower development, available under one roof, which will cater to the needs of the existing industry for product diversification and value addition.

In this respect, MANTRA has been only instrumental in bringing the facilities in Surat, however, it will be industry’s interest to take advantage of it and secure maximum benefit.

As far as in-house contribution is concerned, we would like to appeal to the local entrepreneurs, associations, etc., to help us in raising the required amount so that the project can be implemented successfully.

Centre of Excellence in Agrotextiles at MANTRA.

Technical textiles are `textile materials and products manufactured primarily for their technical performance and functional properties rather than their aesthetic or decorative characteristics. Latest survey on market projections of technical textiles upto 2010 reveal that this value will reach US $ 126 billion by 2010.

India with its vast textile base, has the potential to grab a substantial share of the world market in the next few years time. Considering this emerging field, Government of India (GOI) has taken various measures to promote technical textiles and facilitate the growth and expansion of Technical Textiles. With this view point, the GOI has sanctioned various Centres of Excellence (COEs) for fulfillment of specific objectives in different segments of Technical Textiles.

MANTRA has been designated as Centre of Excellence in Agrotech by Government of India along with Synthetic Art Silk Mills’ Research Association (SASMIRA) as a Lead Association and Navsari Agricultural University (NAU),Navsari, and IIT Delhi as Knowledge Partner.These Centres of Excellence will provide state-of-the-art facilities for testing of agro-textile products, R&D, quality appraisal, product development (pilot plant) & HRD and single window information and knowledge centre. This will help parallel growth of textile as well as technical textile industry in India in general and South Gujarat in particular.

The COE for Agrotextiles has been assigned to Man-Made Textiles Research Association (MANTRA), jointly with The Synthetic and Art Silk Mills Research Association (SASMIRA) as the lead agency jointly with Navsari Agricultural University (NAU), Navsari. The Centre of Excellence is proposed with a vision to fulfill the following mission:-


“To become a world class leading service driven and research based international technical textile association to serve the industry in general and agriculture sector in particular”.


(A)Creating awareness regarding agrotextiles products amongst agriculturists.

(B)To increase productivity by protection of crops.

(C)To assist in early harvesting by use of agrotextile products.

(D)Providing soil covering systems and controlling irrigation using agrotextiles.

(E)To create state-of-art testing certification facilities for agrotextiles products.

(F)To assist the industry for entrepreneurship in the field of agrotextiles.

Role of MANTRA.

Centre of Excellence at MANTRA, has been equipped with the facilities of weaving, knitting, chemical finishing and coating and lamination. World class state-of-the-art testing facilities and training facilities for agrotextile products would be set-up at MANTRA. It will also house an Information Centre for Agrotextile with the base at SASMIRA linked via satellite. The information centres will also be linked with other universities and organizations nationally and internationally. Training related to coating and finishing of agrotextile products would be provided. Role of SASMIRA.

Being the Lead Agency, the Centre of Excellence would be based at SASMIRA, Mumbai. The organization will set-up the major training facility along with the testing facility for most of the agrotextile testing. The key Information Centre would be set-up at SASMIRA, which would be linked to the other partners via satellite. Role of NAU

This department would be chiefly responsible for interaction with the agriculturalist and allied industries for awareness and promotion of agrotextiles. The staff at NAU would assist in training and field trials/commercialization of the agrotextile products. A centre for exhibition-cum- demonstration for agrotextile products and their application will be created at NAU, mainly for the purpose of awareness and training in the filed of agrotextiles. The already existing library at NAU would be upgraded to provide the latest information on agriculture and agrotextiles to serve as a supplementary information centre linked to the main centre at SASMIRA via satellite. The new developments in agrotextile taken up for research and development would have NAU staff as consultants.

Facilities that will be set-up under COE in agro-textiles are for laboratories, training and demonstration.

1. Nationally/Internationally Accredited Testing Facility for Agro-textiles

Testing facilities to be set-up under COE in Agro-textiles at MANTRA and their purpose.

Sr. No. Equipment Purpose.

1 Vibrodyne Measures denier.

2 Hydrodynamic Sieve Tester For particle size analysis.

3 Film Thickness Tester Measures thickness of coated films.

4 Water Permeability (In Plane) To measure water permeability. horizontal (In plane) without load through fabric sample.

5 Shear Tester For frictional properties measurement.

6 Forced Air Laboratory Oven For moist heat hydrolysis analysis.

7 Water Vapour Transmission Tester Measures water vapour permeability through agrotextiles.

8 Cold Crack Tester Measures storage stability upto minus 40°C.

9 Weatherometer To measure weathering resistance and storage and life of material.

10 CBR Puncutre Test Measures resistance to puncture of soil covers.

11 Wind Blocking Percentage To measure wind blocking capacity of wind shields, shade nets and crop covers.

12 Agrotextile Light Shading Percentage Pullout Resistance in Soil Measures percentage of light transmitted through agro-textiles.

13 Pullout Resistance in Soil Measures friction between soil & fabric.

14 Apparent Opening Size of Geo-textile Evaluating porosity of soil covers and landscaping textiles.

15 Taber Abrasion Tester For measuring abrasion resistance.

16 UPF Tester To measure ultraviolet transmission levels through fabrics.

17 Apparatus for Co-efficient of Friction Between Soil & Fabric Measures friction between soil & fabric.

Above facilities will be accredited by national and international bodies.

2. Training Centre.

Full-fledged Training Centre will be set-up under the umbrella of COE for training of skilled workers, middle and top level manager and entrepreneurs.

3. Information Centre.

Information Centre will be equipped with books, journals, test standards, industry statistics and fabric samples. The Centre will be having computerized set-up and linked with Universities, Research Bodies and national and international associations.

Above facilities will be accredited by national and international bodies.


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