Prior to its founding, executives at the company came from a diverse background of experience ranging from textiles, yarns, woven fabrics, finance, infrastructure development and real estate. “Autotech begun its business in India to address the need for an organized high quality nonwovens producer, in particular for the automotive industry,” says Ankit Desai, director, Autotech Nonwovens. “Autotech entered the space at a time when the Indian automotive market faced degrowth and the OEMs and its suppliers were on the lookout for competitive and high quality sources of raw material.”
Autotech’s current needlepunch line with a water-based coating and stenter line has an annual capacity of 2000 tons. Desai indicates that the company is currently evaluating other nonwovens technologies that can be applied to its existing markets as well as new ones.
Within automotives, Desai says the company has significant marketshare in the headliner, seat backing and parcel tray categories in India. “Our strategic location in Gujarat allows us to be competitive for both local as well as export markets. Gujarat has access to multiple ports for exports and the state is fast growing to be the new automotive hub of Asia with exports planned by Tata, Ford and Suzuki from the state.”
In December, Autotech announced it purchased a complete needlepunch line from Andritz Asselin-Thibeau. Start-up of the line and personnel training are scheduled for mid-2016.
“With the proposed expansion of a new Andritz nonwovens line and its peripheral equipment, we aim to be the ‘one stop shop’ of nonwovens for the automotive industry,” Desai says. “With the new line we will focus more deeply within the automotive segment to offer the entire gamut of NVH and interiors solutions to OEMs in India.”
With the addition of the new line, Autotech also plans to expand business development efforts into other products and geographies for filtration, coating substrates and geotextiles.
“While Autotech Nonwovens is a relatively smaller company, we compare and strive ourselves to the leaders in the industry globally. Our ultimate goal is to become the ‘Nonwovens Producer of Choice’ for the industry globally,” he says.
With a focus on high quality, customer satisfaction and continuous improvement, Desai says the company has been able to carve a niche over its peers.
“When being approached for new product developments, Autotech develops products in a fast paced manner exceeding customer expectations,” he continues. “In several cases, Autotech has been one of the first suppliers to be approved for new projects by OEMs.”
Although Autotech is a small company in a geographical market that is much smaller in size than more developed markets, Desai is optimistic about the future of nonwovens in India.
“India is one of the largest and fastest growing middle-class populations in the world,” he says. “With the Indian population’s improved access to healthcare, education and more balanced overall economic growth, India’s consumption story will naturally grow. We believe with appropriate customer engagement, demand for nonwovens can only expand. Higher consumer awareness shall eventually lead to higher growth of the nonwovens market in India.”