Industrial Revolution in U.K. during 1750 - 1850 gave birth to Textile Machinery. The dominance of India in the field of cotton textiles produced by very skilled manpower was disturbing the British. Systematic development of textile industry with spinning and powerloom machinery was initiated in Lancashire and Manchester to discourage the Indian weavers. Rest is however known to everybody how the machinery industry was developed and nurtured by the respective Governments in the UK and later by Germany and Switzerland followed by others in Europe.
In India, machinery manufacture started in the 50s, continued and progressed during 60s & 70s and thereafter. The Government policy to ban expansion of the organized weaving sector during late 60s created/ supported the decentralized powerloom sector. Too much of importance to handlooms and low level technology power looms in the subsequent years, keeping a large list of reserved items for handlooms, throttled the mill industry which lost its initiative for creativity as well as production for the masses.
Low level of production in handlooms and low quality production in powerlooms made us uncompetitive in the subsequent years. The Governments regulative pressures on the Mill Industry continued to play havoc for the weaving industry till the introduction of 1985 Textile Policy and finally revolutionary Industrial Policy in 1991.
Development and technology growth in the TEI
The Textile Engineering Industry (TEI) during the late 60s, 70s and 80s had received some Government support in the form of foreign collaboration approvals, import assistance by way of phased manufacturing programme and concessional customs duty certification for imported parts and components for manufacture of specified textile machinery. Import duty on components and parts in general was very high at 85% excluding CVD and not conducive for indigenous development. The concessional duty on imported parts, components etc. mentioned above did help the Industry. The then Governments policy was also supportive that no import of machinery was allowed if there was adequate indigenous production. The local textile industry therefore had no choice but to buy the Indian machinery.
This policy helped the TEI to develop and manufacture spinning machinery in the country of the desired quality and quantity. There was no competition from outsider. Internal competition among various players made the development easier and faster. Foreign manufacturers had no choice but to enter into collaborations with local manufacturers. This happened not only in spinning but also in processing machinery. The following collaborations are worth mentioning:
No. Names of Foreign Collaborators Names of Indian Manufacturers Items Produced
1 M/s. Textile
Machinery Makers Ltd. U.K.,
Platt Bros., U.K. M/s.National Machinery Mfrs. Ltd., Bombay* Spinning - Cards, Draw Frame, Speed Frame, Ring Frame
2 M/s.Whitin Machine Works,
U.S.A. M/s. M M C., Calcutta Spinning Carding Engines and RH Can Fed Inter Frames
3 M/s. Howa, Japan M/s.Texmaco, Calcutta* Spinning Flat Revolving Carding Engines, Draw Frame, Speed Frames
4 M/s. Zinser,
Germany M/s.Texmaco, Calcutta* Spinning Narrow Gauge Ring Frame
5 M/s. Marzoli, Italy M/s.M M C, Bangalore* Spinning Entire Range
6 M/s.Hispani Suiza (Suisse) S.A., Switzerland M/s. Indequip Engineering Ltd., Ahmedabad Spinning Ring Frame
7 M/s.Rieter, Switzerland M/s.LMW, Coimbatore Spinning - Entire range
8 M/s. Schubert & Salzer, Germany M/s.New Standard Engg. Co. Ltd., Mumbai* Spinning - Blow Room, Cards, Draw Frames
9. M/s. Zinser,
Germany M/s.Padmatex Engg., Baroda* Spinning - H.S. Draw Frame
10 M/s. Trutzschler,
Germany M/s.Trumac, Ahmedabad Spinning - Blow Room, Cards, Draw Frames
11 M/s. Toyota,
Japan M/s.Kirloskar Toyoda Textile Machinery Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore Spinning Ring Frame
12 M/s. Suessen,
Germany M/s.Suessen Asia, Pune Spinning - Ring Frame
* Presently not in operation
Due to acute and long recession in the Textile Industry, initial higher import content coupled with high rate of import duty, non-transfer of latest technology under collaboration agreements leading to import of machinery etc., the following Indian Companies were closed down during 80s and early 90s. These are M/s.MMC, Kolkata and Bangalore; M/s.Texmaco, Kolkata; M/s.Indequip Engineering, Ahmedabad; M/s.New Standard Engg. Co.Ltd., Mumbai; M/s.Mafatlal Engg. Co.Ltd. Mumbai; M/s.Textool Co.Ltd., Coimbatore; M/s.Jeetstex Engg. Ltd. Coimbatore etc. while M/s.LMW, M/s.Trumac, M/s.Zinser India, M/s.Suessen Asia, M/s.Kirloskar Toyoda could manage to stay in production.
Why we are better in spinning machinery?
There was Government support by way of-
â€¢ Restricted import of spinning machinery - virtually no import of spinning machinery of the same technology available indigenously was allowed.
â€¢ No import of second hand spinning machinery was allowed.
â€¢ Import duty concession on raw materials, parts, components & accessories for production of specified machinery as the import duty in general, was very high.
Besides, competition among the machinery manufacturers resulted in production of better quality machines.
Reasons for non-development in the Weaving Machinery Sector
While the Textile Engineering Industry took up manufacturing of Spinning machinery in full swing with the adequate Government's supportive measures mentioned above, the same did not happen in case of weaving machinery.
During 60s (prior to 1970) the Industrial Policy prohibited the organized mill sector to expand their weaving capacity. This was perhaps to support employment generation in the villages by the decentralized and dispersed handloom sector. It was due to this wrong policy, the unauthorized powerloom clusters started gaining grounds. Even many of the handloom clusters started converting into powerlooms. Since the domestic demand for fabrics was growing fast due to the population growth, the powerloom sector in different parts of the country started growing fast while the handloom sector started shrinking in reality. (The fact is still not accepted by the Government). Today, there are over 20 lakh powerlooms but handlooms, may not be more than 8 lakh, if not less!
During 70s the organized mill sector was allowed to replace ordinary powerlooms by automatic looms and shuttleless looms on 4:1 basis. However, compulsory manufacture of controlled cloth by the mills sector dampened the spirit of the mills sector. Controlled cloth scheme was done away with during 80s. Expectation of a good demand due to replacement policy prompted the manufacture of automatic looms by M/s.Cimmco, Gwalior in collaboration with M/s.Sakamoto, Japan and M/s. Mafatlal Engineering Co. in collaboration with M/s.Ruti, Switzerland during 70s. In the late 70s M/s. Lakshmi Automatic Loom Works Ltd. (LALW) started manufacturing Ruti `C Type of automatic loom in collaboration with M/s.Ruti, Switzerland. M/s. Cimmco as well as M/s. Mafatlal Engineering Co. tried to manufacture shuttleless looms in collaboration with M/s.Dornier, Germany, Toyoda, Japan and M/s.SACM, France respectively during early 80s. M/s. LALW also started making shuttleless rapier and airjet looms during 80s.
During 80s, the powerloom population which was hardly 7 lakh had grown to more than 10 lakhs. The policy of scrapping of powerlooms of the mill industry after replacement or closure failed miserably, all these powerlooms found their way to the decentralized sector. The Government had no option but to regularize all unauthorised powerlooms due to political pressure after announcement of 1985 Textile Policy and subsequent Textile Control Order 1986, doing away with the age old powerloom permit system.
The textile strike during 1980s crippled the Textile mill industry in Mumbai and Maharashtra. During this period the composite structure of the mill industry broke almost completely. While the spinning sector prospered with the modern machinery, the number of working looms in the organized mills sector shrunk considerably and most of the mills found it profitable to close down their weaving section due to bad market condition, high cost of labour, low productivity and tough competition from the powerloom sector. As a result, there was practically no demand for the shuttleless looms manufactured by the two Companies mentioned above which prompted them to close down their shutters one by one. In the meantime, due to the pressure from the decentralized powerloom sector the Government was forced to allow import of second hand weaving machinery which added to the woes of indigenous manufacturers of shuttleless looms. M/s. LALW also had to discontinue the production of shuttleless looms subsequently.
During 80s and upto 1991 there was protective market for spinning and processing machinery but not for the weaving machinery due to high production cost and import of second hand looms.
Initiatives discouraged after liberalization
The Industrial Policy announced in 1991 liberalised the Industry in general to a considerable extent. The market became open to the foreign manufacturers and there was tough competition. The spinning machinery makers came of age technologywise and capacitywise and there was also very high demand for spinning machinery. The weaving machinery could not prosper due to the onslaught of import of second hand machinery. There was no restriction on import of second hand weaving machinery before and after 1991. After 1992, there was no support of the Government either for development of weaving machinery or any other textile machinery.
In this regard, the only commendable fact was that we became self-sufficient in Weaving Preparatory Machinery viz. High Speed Sectional Warping, Direct Warping and Sizing matching with world class technology. M/s. Rabatex Industries, Ahmedabad; M/s. Prashant Gamatex Pvt. Ltd., Ahmedabad, M/s. Amritlakshmi Machine Works, Mumbai and M/s. Jupiter Engineering Co., Ahmedabad are the most reputed domestic manufacturers. This could happen because there was less import of second hand machinery and the cost differential between domestic and imported machinery was large and the machines were custom - built.
The indigenous shuttleless looms (older technology) which have been developed during the late 90s and early 2000, however, could not find a good market due to the adverse policy of the Government i.e. import of second hand shuttleless looms under concessional duty and also under concessional rate of interest under TUF. The situation continues.
However, indigenous machinery manufacturers viz. M/s. Aalidhra Weavetech Pvt.Ltd., Surat; M/s.Bhavin Sales Corporation, Surat; M/s. Dynamic Loom Mfg.Co., Ahmedabad; M/s. Dinkier Sokerjee Machines, Surat; M/s. Friends Engg. Works, Panipat; M/s. Himson Textile Engg. Inds. Pvt.Ld.; Surat; M/s. Industrial Engg. Works, Bangalore; M/s. Lakshmi Automatic Loom Works Ltd., Coimbatore; M/s. Laxmi Textile Stores, Ahmedabad; M/s. Lifebond Machines Pvt.Ltd., Surat etc. have developed and are producing crank beat up type shuttleless looms with a speed between 450 500 mpm.All latest generation shuttleless looms i.e. Airjet, Waterjet, Projectile & Rapier of European and Japanese origin are high speed, high tech, high productive and energy efficient running at a speed of 500 rpm and above. This machinery, though at a higher cost, is economically viable due to its quality and productivity, cost of fabric per meter being less than second hand machinery.
Since last 4/5 years, all new large textile units as well as existing reputed textile units expanding capacity had been importing these kinds of machinery to make them commercially viable, e.g. Alok Industries, Welspun, GHCL, Vardhman Group, Century, Raymonds, etc.
Therefore, machinery, if made/developed indigenously need to be cost competitive in all respects and cost of production per meter of fabric should be same or less with equivalent quality standard. Then only the manufacturing would be viable and accepted by the Mill Industry/ Organized Sector.
Unless there are disincentives for second hand machinery, there is no hope that the decentralized powerloom sector would go in for new machinery.
Processing & Finishing Machinery Sector
The history of the processing machinery manufacturing sector was somewhat different. During 70s and 80s there were a number of foreign collaborations :
M/s. Mather & Platt, U.K. Mather & Platt (I) Ltd.*
M/s. Reggiani, Italy SBM Engg.*
M/s. Stork, Holland ATE (Stovec/Stormac*)
M/s. Gerber, M/s.Menzel and M/s.Eduard Kusters, Germany Calico Indl. Engineers*
M/s. Artos & Benninger, Germany T. Maneklal*
M/s. Famatex, Germany Famatex India Ltd.*
M/s. Obermeaier, Germany Dalal Engg.
M/s.Toshin Kogyo, Japan Star Indl. Engg.*
* Presently not in operation
Some Companies developed machinery by copying the imported technology viz. M/s. Harish Textile Engineers, M/s. SM Engg. etc.
As mentioned earlier, composite structure of the textile industry broke in Europe during 70s. The same happened in India during 80s. This affected the processing sector.
While spinning industry became more organized, competitive and export- worthy, the weaving and processing sectors became uncompetitive, decentralized and export unworthy. Since the Government encouraged low technology for the weaving sector (handlooms and ordinary powerlooms), the organized weaving sector in the mill industry could not come up. Similarly, the decentralized processing sector, which started with second hand machinery from the composite mill industry, did not modernize the units in course of time. The domestic manufacturers which had collaboration prior to 1991 could not continue with their collaborators after 1991 as the market became open and the foreign manufacturers found it easier to market their machines in India rather than making the same under collaboration. reference : textile blog,