Mehta sees new technologies benefitdye industry

Mehta sees new technologies to benefit the dye industry

4:32 AM, 4th September 2012
Mehta sees new technologies to benefit the dye industry
Janak Mehta, President, Dyetex Corporation and Immediate Past President, Dyestuff Manufacturers Association of India (DMAI).

In an interview with World Of Chemicals News, Janak Mehta, President, Dyetex Corporation and Immediate Past President, Dyestuff Manufacturers Association of India (DMAI), gives the updates regarding the dyes industry in India. Mehta also focuses on the challenges and policy concerns faced by the Indian dyes industry.

The markets for dyes is dominated by reactive and disperse dyes. Nations such as China, South Korea and Taiwan are strong players in disperse dyes. Interestingly, India has taken lead in production of reactive dyes. Kindly give your thoughts on this and a sense of the future.

Undoubtedly China and other Asian countries are strong players in the disperse dyes.  This is due to the fact that China has a very strong anthracene chemistry, as a result of which China is the leader in disperse dyes. As far as India is concerned we are leaders in reactive dyes and benzene based chemistry. We will strive hard to hold on this number one position in reactive dyes in future too. Further, we will try to strengthen our intermediates industry based on naphthalene.   

What kind of research and development is taking place in the dye industry?

Research is a constant process in the development of dyes industry in our country. Research is concentrated on reactive dyes for better sustaining and reactivity with the substrates to lower the ETP load.

Give us an idea of various new applications on the anvil for the dye industry.

Commonly used industrial dyes hold the key to advancing the new science of ‘spintronics,’ say researchers working on a new a £2.5 million study.

Spintronics holds out the possibility of a range of future applications, such as quantum computing, which aims to deliver secure, low-power computers capable of processing much larger quantities of data than is currently possible. Also, thrust is to support research into the magnetic properties of metal atoms found in industrial dyes such as metal phthalocyanine (MPc), a blue dye used in clothing. The science of spintronics focuses on storing, processing and receiving information by using magnetic fields, electrical currents, light and microwaves to control the spin of electrons.

In contrast, conventional electronics, such as those in the integrated circuits of computers or mobile phones, do this by controlling the electrical charge of electrons rather than their spin. Further, Spintronics has the potential to significantly increase the amount of information a computer can store and process, because spin gives an electron two fundamental states instead of one - spin up and spin down. This means that information can be stored in arbitrary combinations of these two states.

In order to advance spintronics, materials which combine both magnetic and semiconducting properties need to be found. The researchers believe that MPc, which is an organic semiconductor, holds the answer and now the aim is to exploit the spin inherent in its metal atoms.

One of the economic and environmental issues faced by chemical industries is ‘sustainability.’ Give us an update as to where does the Indian dye industry stand in terms of sustainability?

Some of the new reactive dyes are contributing to the sustainability of one of the earth’s most precious resources - water. The product significantly reduces water and energy consumption, as well as carbon dioxide emissions, during the dyeing and washing-off process. This will save consumption of water to a great extent. Also, the number of rinsing baths to obtain the required fastness properties is thus greatly reduced. As per the available data, it is reported that the cotton mills using the new product have saved 32 million gallons (121 million litre) of fresh water.

Additionally what is the adoption of ‘green chemistry,’ both for manufacturing process and products in the dye industry?

Textile manufacturing involves some of the world’s most resource-wasting processes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it takes about 2,900 gallons of water to produce a single pair of jeans. Most of this water is used in what’s known as wet processing, as well as in the dyeing of fabric.

A new process called Advanced Denim can produce a pair of jeans using up to 92 per cent less water and up to 30 per cent less energy than conventional methods. The process also generates up to 87 per cent less cotton waste (which is often burned) and virtually no waste water. While traditional denim production requires up to 15 dyeing vats that contain a cocktail of chemicals the process uses a single vat of liquid sulfur dyes that require only a single, sugar-based reducing agent. The reducing agent as compared to sodium hydrosulfite, is a much greener alternative to traditional reducing agents.

The result is a more eco-friendly process that cuts out most of the waste from traditional jean production.

Compare the India dye industry to that of the US and the European industries?

There has been a notable transition in the global arena during the last 2-3 decades in the manufacturing base of colourants, with a shift in production from Europe, USA and Japan to Asia viz China, India, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia etc. With decline in production in most of the traditional centres, non-traditional centers like India and China are now preferred sources for supply of colorants to the global market.

Increased concern for Safety, Health & Environment (SHE) has lead to banning of several hazardous substances and various regulations like REACH on manufacture, supply and use of colourants have come into existence. Concerted efforts are being put in by the industry and academia to deliver colourants with green technology, but there is a need for considerable work to be done in the field of research & development (R&D) on a continuous basis.

The world market for the colorants comprising dyes, pigments and intermediates is presently estimated at $27 Billion. During the last decade, the industry was growing at an average rate of 2-3 per cent per annum. Whereas other countries in the world market contribute nearly 87.5 per cent of the global production, India accounts for 12.5 per cent. 


India and China are the two main Asian dye manufacturing countries; compare the dye industries of the two.


China has captured about 27 per cent of the global market. Out of the total production of colorants of 7,56,000 tonne in China nearly 5,32,000 tonne accounting for 62 per cent is consumed domestically and the remaining is exported from that country. In terms of tonnage, China’s exports are to the tune of 2,80,000 tonne and imports 67,000 tonne.


Today, Indian dyestuff industry comprises about 950 units - 50 in large and organized sector and 900 units in Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) Sector. The overall production capacity of dyestuffs is 2,00,000 tonne per annum. As far as Pigments are concerned, the market size is 1,15,000 tonne, excluding Carbon Black and Titanium Diaoxide. The main consumer industries are printing inks, paints, plastics, rubber, etc., accounting for 70 per cent of the end use.

With the ever increasing standards of quality and reliability, Indian colourants industry meets more than 95 per cent of the domestic requirement, out of which textile industry consumes nearly 60 per cent and the remaining is shared by non-textile industries.

Whereas many of the plants all over the world are very large size, there are many SME units in India, which are capable of producing quality colorants. Gujarat and Maharashtra account for nearly 95 per cent of the colorant production. Per capita consumption of colorants is only a meager 50 gm vis-a-vis the world average of 250 gm offering a huge growth potential.


In brief, what are the major challenges faced by dye industries in India?

Major Challenges

1) Low Emphasis on colourants industry

The government authorities have been according low emphasis on colourants Industry. There are lots of bureaucratic hurdles, restrictive regulations, lengthy procedures requiring lots of time and money for various clearances mainly due to unfavourable image of colorants on account of wrong perception.

2) Infrastructure

(a) Land - There is a lack of ideal, dedicated and adequate availability of land at suitable locations.

(b) Water - Adequate availability constraint of water is a limiting factor as water is an important component in the manufacturing of colourants.

(c) Power & Fuel - Availability is inadequate and cost is very high. Various government duties and levies have added to the cost substantially.

(d) Logistics - Good quality roads with excellent connectivity are a severe constraint. Port facilities and long turnaround time affect efficiency and competitiveness of the colourant Industry.

3) Lack of Innovation

Spending on research & development (R&D) is the lowest by India’s colourant industry as cost benefit factor is highly de-motivating. There is lack of incentives for such work. For a nation aspiring to be a major manufacturing centre for colourants, there is an urgent need to encourage R&D activities.

4) Availability of Feedstock

Availability of feedstock is very poor. The Industry is import dependent for many products. Frequent closure of manufacturing units is also affecting regular supplies.

5) Availability of Human Resources

There is insufficient availability of trained manpower. The productivity is one of the lowest in India. It is an irony that young generation is mostly averse to taking up dyestuff discipline in their curriculum on the fear that job opportunities in the industry are very few. 

6) Environmental Concerns

Though there are other Industries, which are equally or more polluting, colourant Industry is considered to be the most polluting due to visibility of colour. Poor image due to wrong public perception is affecting the Industry. The existing effluent discharge norms are totally unrealistic, not achievable and not based on proper scientific study.

7) Multi-Taxation

The existing multiple taxation like Customs Duty, Excise, Sales Tax, Service Tax, Octroi and unproductive and complicated procedures are hindering the growth and add to the cost.

8) Cost of finance   

To have a competitive edge, colourant industry should be provided with adequate working capital and term finance for modernization and expansion at low rate of interest.  More so, rates have been moving northward for the last many months.  Export finance should be made available at concessional rates. There is also an urgent need for review for reduction in the service charges levied by the banks. 

By the year 2020, discussions are on-going regarding a new policy – the ‘Zero Discharge Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC).’ What is your view on the new policy and how will it impact the Indian dye industry?

In 2011, the founding brands; adidas Group, C&A, H&M, Li-Ning, Nike Inc. and Puma made a joint commitment to help lead the industry towards Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC). In early 2012, the group of brands welcomed G-Star as a new member to the ZDHC Programme.

As a part of the commitment and first steps towards ZDHC, the group of brands published a Joint Roadmap in November 2011. The document demonstrates the group’s collaborative efforts in leading the apparel and footwear industry towards ZDHC for all products across all pathways by 2020.  The Joint Roadmap is highly ambitious; it is a plan that sets a new standard of environmental performance for the global apparel and footwear industry. It includes specific commitments and timelines to realize this shared goal.

The current ZDHC members welcome additional members and look forward to continuing to receive the support from all stakeholders and constituencies as needed for the Joint Roadmap to be successful. Signatories of the Joint Roadmap are the owners and managers of it.

Ensuring transparency, the group of brands will report regularly and publicly on the progress against the published Joint Roadmap timeline (quarterly in 2012, annually from 2013 to 2020).

© WOC News



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