Textile units in Coimbatore region get into non-woven fabric production

April 30, 2020 10:19 pm | Updated 10:19 pm IST - Coimbatore

As the demand for personal protective gear and masks have shot up in the last one month with the spread of COVID-19, some textile units in the region have gone into production of fabrics that are used to stitch the coveralls.

Of the 20 or so companies that produce the fabric that go into making of the coveralls, more than five are in Tamil Nadu, according to industry sources.

According to Gopinath Bala, CEO and Technical Director at SVS Advanced Fabrics, the company was already into technical textiles, manufacturing biodegradable sign board fabrics and roofing fabrics. It has now invested and got into production of PPE fabrics. “We just launched production of three products - fabric for coveralls, cubicle partition fabrics that can be used in hospitals, coveralls with breathable fabric that the police and other healthcare workers on the field can use.”

The demand for masks, coveralls, and related products will continue for some more time. Even after that, those making quality products will have a market as awareness about PPEs has increased. “There will be a good future for exports too,” he said. The fabric used has to be laminated to make it safe for use for frontline workers.

Coimbatore-based Saastha Technical Textiles, started eight years ago, laminates nearly 10,000 metres of fabric a day. A PPE set used by a doctor consumes nearly 3.3 metres of fabric. If each doctor involved in treating COVID-19 patients use even one set a day, the demand for laminated non-woven fabric is huge. There are several enquiries from other countries too, says M. Raaja, its Managing Director, on the potential for the fabrics. Industry sources say that the demand for PPEs and healthcare related products will continue. The manufacturers source fabric from the northern States now. It is good to have the required eco-system within the State. The market has evolved with COVID-19. Entrepreneurs in other sectors are also looking at opportunities in masks and coveralls. So the demand for fabric will continue.

The current demand may not continue in the domestic market after a couple of years. But use of masks will continue by the public for a longer time. Industries do not have to make huge investment to make the fabric. However, when export of PPEs is opened up, there will be huge opportunity for the manufacturers.

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