As personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturing is escalating strongly in India, organisations and companies are stepping up to educate the industry to produce quality PPE and make them aware about market aspects.
The most recent webinar on PPE was organised by Techtextil India (powered by Messe Frankfurt) and Indian Technical Textile Association (ITTA) themed – Is India Export Ready for Medical Protective Wear?
The webinar saw the presence of industry experts such as Dr. K.S. Sundaraman, Managing Director, Shiva Texyarns Ltd.; Dr. Anup Rakshit, Executive Director, Indian Technical Textile Association (ITTA); Narinder Thapa, Vice President – Human Protection, AMD Arvind Limited; Mahesh Kudav, Managing Director, Venus Safety and Health Pvt. Ltd.; Ashit Kundra, Managing Director & Regional Director – Assurance – South Asia & Middle East, Eurofins Spectro; Pavan Kapoor, Managing Director, IIGM Private Limited and Suvodeep Mukherjee, Sr. General Manager, TUV SUD South Asia Pvt. Ltd.
The panellists highlighted India’s journey of coveralls’ production from a couple of thousands to almost 4.50 lakh on a daily basis. “The fabric production to make these coveralls has also reached 20,00,000 metres (2 million metres) on a daily basis,” informed Dr. Anup.
However, he also expressed his concern about the sub-standard quality of fabric which is being manufactured domestically and that’s certainly not something that can help India be export ready.
Mahesh Kudav then explained the situation of India in N-95 respirators by comparing pre-COVID and post-COVID scenario. “Pre-COVID, we always tried to beat Chinese players in cost and quality terms and European players in innovations as far as N-95 masks are concerned and that was our strength. But after January ’20, the Government of India banned the export of PPE and we were left with no orders in February. Still the Government officials were proactive all through the challenging times,” said Mahesh.
Dr. Sundaraman took baton in his hands and talked about how his company has become one of the most trusted suppliers of fabric that goes into making body coveralls for medical textiles.
He also emphasised on an important subject that the fabric should not just pass the synthetic blood penetration test (ASTM 1670F), but should also pass anti-viral test (ASTM 1671F) which is necessary to keep medical professionals safe from virus transmission.
The market of medical PPE is going to increase in US, EU, Australia and all other major markets in the world and India must work on this direction to become an early beneficiary. This was discussed in-depth by Narinder Thapa who shared WHO data and informed, “Mask market is going to become US $ 535 million worth market by December this year; while, in the same period, the global demand of body coverall will reach US $ 1.80 billion.”
Pavan Kapoor, with all his experience of decades and technical know-how, pointed out the challenges in the seam sealing operation of coveralls and unfurled iShark seam sealing machine – a product of IIGM.
Ashit Kundra took the discussion forward with his expertise in face mask and respirators and discussed about the types of respirators available in the market. He gave quite an interesting insight into filtration and leakage comparison in FFp1, 2 and 3 types of respirators along with all other technical details and classification of coveralls and masks country-wise which were of utmost interest of the attendees.
Last but not the least, Suvodeep Mukherjee talked about sterilisation process of PPE kits, which is an important yet an overlooked subject.
The webinar also witnessed a guest speaker Mohan Kavrie, Owner, Supreme Nonwovens, who suggested that if India needs to be export ready, the quality of raw material and process must not be overlooked which is, unfortunately, a major pertaining challenge for the country.