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Denim Majors Look at Automation to Improve Product Quality, Export

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NEW DELHI, India, July 8, 2013 — In a bid to enhance export orders, improve product quality and bring down overall input costs, denim fabric makers are looking to bring in new technology and add automation to their manufacturing. While on one hand the move is caused by the desire to improve product quality, it is also to become less people intensive due to growing scarcity of skilled manpower in the industry.

"These days we are continuously looking to adopt automation and new technology for three reasons. Firstly, it helps improve our product quality and we are able to innovate with various designs. Secondly, the new automated technology brings in sustainability and our utility consumption comes down, thereby lowering our carbon footprint. Thirdly, it makes less people intensive," says Aamir Akhtar, chief executive officer, Arvind Denim, part of the textile conglomerate Arvind Ltd.

Seconding Akhtar is Ashish Shah of another denim major Aarvee Denims and Exports Ltd.

"Automation also helps in achieving larger volumes and thereby making yourself match steps with global suppliers and seek better and more number of export orders," said Shah, managing director of Aarvee Denims and Exports Limited.

According to automated technology provider for denim industry, Turel Group, which is the sole distributor of Vibemac in India, not only large denim players but even the newer ones are opting for automation to reduce input and manpower costs.

"The industry is moving into automation where more amount of work in fewer amounts of time and resources is being done in manufacturing denim. This is happening because of non-availability of labour. Moreover, denim is no more a regular wear but also a fashion wear. Hence, it is automation that brings in flexibility in denim. Today even newer and smaller players can do short runs of 1000 pieces thanks to such machines," said Viraf Turel, managing director of Turel Group.

Available in the range of Rs 8-20 lakh, the automated technology offers de-skilling of operations, apart from consistent quality.

"Earlier, if you needed 80 machines for a particular order, now you would need less than 40 machines and that too with reduced requirement of skilled manpower. This has resulted in de-skilling of operations and has brought down power and manpower requirements by more than 50 per cent," added Turel. Even Mafatlal Industries, which got itself an ISO 14001 certification for its denim plant as a result of bringing in technology, roots for new trend of automation.

"These days unless you are truly competitive global quality product, it is tough to survive. And it is automation that helps you achieve that. It also brings in differentiated quality, production flexibility, innovative methods and products as well as reduces number of skilled people required for the job. To some extent automation is a result of some availability issues of labour," said Rajiv Dayal, chief executive officer and Managing Director at Mafatlal Industries.

Source: business-standard.com, © 2013 Business Standard Ltd. All rights reserved.

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