Zschimmer & Schwarz is an internationally active company with its headquarters in Lahnstein near Koblenz, Germany. Its main business is to develop, manufacture and deliver tailor-made chemical auxiliaries for leather, fur, ceramic, textile and fibre industries. In addition, the company is one of the leading manufacturers of high performance chemical specialities and auxiliaries for cosmetics and cleaning applications as well as phosphonates and polymerbased solutions. The corporate group Zschimmer & Schwarz combines 29 companies in 15 countries on five continents, 20 of which have their own production facilities. Owing to the ingenuity of scientists, chemistry is taking a major share in the cultural achievements of modern times. Chemicals have become an integral part of our lives. They are beneficial in so many respects without us being aware of their presence. Who would think that the clothing we wear, the tiles on which we step, or the shoes in our feet are all made possible by high-grade chemical auxiliaries.
The company recently announced its association with CeraDecor India Ltd. for marketing Pre & Post textile chemicals in India. Ceradecor will be exclusive agent in India for these chemicals. CeraDecor is a well-known supplier of ceramic frits, pigments, third fire colours, for tiles, sanitary ware, tableware and glassware industry. The company privately held and based in Noida, India, was founded in 1997 by Dr. Rajiv Verma, who is also representing Durst digital textile printing machine in India. To know more about this new association, Apparel Views Editor Arvind Kumar spoke to Michael Moliere, Global Key Account Manager, Zschimmer & Schwarz and Dr. Rajiv Verma, (Managing Director) CeraDecor India Limited.
Please tell us more about the association?
Michael Moliere: We are working very closely with Durst Germany and their agents in different countries and now started our association with CeraDécor who is the partner of Durst in India. They will be our official partners for digital textile chemicals. In other countries like Bangladesh, we are working with Durst partner. In Pakistan we are working with Reggiani, MS and Durst machine suppliers. We are open to work with any supplier who needs technical assistance and wants to improve the quality of digital printing.
It’s easier to work with the agents who are representing European companies and know digital textile printing. It is great that Durst and Zschimmer & Schwarz are long-term partners. From the beginning we are working with Durst when they started digital printing on textiles. In this association we are also learning a lot about technology and hardware so it’s a win win situation for us.
How are you looking forward to the market after this tie-up?
Michael Moliere: India is a big textile-manufacturing hub and a very important market. We have seen a lot of growth in digital textile printing in recent years in India and hence see a huge potential for our chemicals. Our company is active in India for last 20 years in textiles auxiliaries and also special division like spin finishers. Success story of digital was started 10 years back, and in the ceramics we are one of the leaders in certain areas. So when digital printing comes into ceramics it was consequence to do the same. Five years back we could see this trend coming into textile as well, so we designed a separate brand DIAMONDTEX. We are here at CeraDécor with Rajeev and his team for digital textile segment. In digital textile we are in a position to offer full package. Our team has developed a special range for the digital textile printing with their vast knowledge.
What is your current plan for India market?
Dr. Rajiv Verma: We will be importing the raw material and technical knowhow from Germany. We will stock and do marketing in India and resell the products under Z&S brand. We will give complete solution starting from pretreatment and going upto the finishing in digital textile printing.
What made you to work with them?
Dr. Rajiv Verma: When we installed our printer here at the demo center we observed that there are a lot of problems with the recipes. Color brilliancy and finishing was not coming appropriate so once we came in contact with Zschimmer & Scharwz we got the samples tested. Even our customers also found that the results are much more brilliant than what they are doing in the present scenario. Then we also realized that if we don’t give complete solution to the digital printing system then we are unable to achieve desired result and satisfy our customers. Our machine performance is also based on right parameters of pre and post treatment so it is very important to give full package apart from printer.
The pre and post treatment, is it only for the Durst customers, or for all?
Dr. Rajiv Verma: We are starting from the Durst customers, but it’s an open system and any machine user can use it. The learning process will be with Durst, then it will be available for others. Earlier we were only into selling the machine, and it was up to customers to select the pre and post treatment. But over the years we realized that things are not that easy. Our customers are not getting the result. It made me to go back and think about the chemistry part of the pretreatment and post treatment. We started the demo center with complete testing laboratory. Still I am learning this process, and have learnt a lot from my partners’ excellent knowledge.
How are you operating globally?
Michael Moliere: Founded 125 years back, our company’s headquarter is based in Germany, and have partners in Italy. We have an important part in Spain where the success story of the inks of digital for ceramics started. Consequently, we started our ink production for textiles. In Italy we had three companies based in Northern area. Everybody knows the heart of Central European was there in Italy so that’s why you’ll find our company familiar to this place. Our textile division works globally in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil etc. having their own subsidiaries and production units, almost 18 together. In other countries we have sales partners. We don’t like to work with agents; we are the partners with CeraDecor. The idea was to share the knowledge, to open and built up a real partnership. Every partner of traditional printing is good for digital. In Sri Lanka and Bangladesh we are working with the same partner, in Pakistan we totally stopped traditional and only focused on digital.
In China and Indonesia we have local team, which gets support from German Sales Manager and technical team. We are very flexible and learnt that in digital we have to be besides them. Such process takes some time, and beauty of digital is that it’s very transparent. You do the trial and adjust something on the machine and see the results, analyze and if required then adjust. So, there’s lot of travelling and daily challenge, there’s ups and downs but it’s going up. This company runs more than 100 people in India.
After this collaboration, are you going to have a manufacturing plant here?
Michael Moliere: I am here in India for more than 20 years. The reason behind our success story was that my intention was never to fight against the mass market. One cannot compare a brand machine manufactured in Germany or Japan with others. As soon as it produces in another country it becomes local. The companies in India are doing very good job, we are in contact with many companies owners who are very big brands in chemical manufacturing. Attention is to deliver premium quality. Out of total printed share only 3- 4 per cent is digital, which is not a mass market, and you need the knowledge and technology. Sometimes you don’t need textile experience, you need to know how to rip the software, adjust the file, and other things.
What is your advice to the customers in India when it comes to pre and post treatment?
Michael Moliere: If you want to start with digital, do it now. Don’t try to replace a digital machine with a traditional analogue system. If you start digital printing you have to go in depth, means first we need designer to understand the digital. The owners should involve the technical team from the beginning. Buying something is easy but completely using it is difficult. With digital Indian companies can come upto a new level where they can make something new so don’t go for digital only to replace rotary or traditional printing range. Buy right pretreatment or post treatment. You should give time, training and knowledge to the whole technical team.
Dr. Rajiv Verma: We will have complete solution for all the fabrics including cotton, viscose, polyester and silk. Customers today want the machine and see the results without understanding the role of pre and post treatment, which is very important. Machine can only print as per the command. So everything should be right from design, software, pre & post treatment, ink and fabric to get perfect result. This is something customers are not able to understand.
Is there any market ready to print fabric?
Dr. Rajiv Verma: We have not entered this segment, as for ready to print fabric we have to go behind pretreatment. Such fabrics are available in Europe but basically for polyester. For technical fabrics they have the ready fabrics available for fashion and garment industry.
Michael Moliere: There are some very famous companies in Europe who are supplying RTP fabric. There are some upcoming companies in India, which are trying to challenge these, very famous companies for polyester direct printing.
How do you look at digital textile printing’s future in India?
Michael Moliere: Digital advantages of digital textile printing include increased flexibility in meeting customer demands, speedier adaptation to fashion trends, unproblematic and reproducible patterns, economies in the use of water and disposal of waste water as well as the elimination of costly stencils and their storage. This makes the printing of repeating patterns and on an off job possible. On the other hand, the technology is constantly being developed and expanded – new machine concepts with high print resolution enabling faster print speeds and greater widths. Digital printing on fabrics is gaining its importance due to the numerous advantages outlined here and is recording an annual growth rate of around 25 per cent.
So, I am very positive about the digital textile market and its growth in India. For traditional printing there are two big markets India and China. There are 1.2bn people who love to do shopping and India will be the strongest growth for the local demand but on the other side, the power of the big companies or the brands probably we will see at the end of this year when the industry is stabilised after GST impact. Indian is always very strong in garment exports and home textiles where digital printing is already a revolution because you can bring a lot of effect so I am looking very positively.
Do you have any plans for market your inks in India? How do you see the scope of pigment ink?
Michael Moliere: At the moment we have agreement with Durst, who as its own pigment ink. We are already selling reactive and sublimation inks. In many countries we have already started our own pigment ink range. We see huge scope for pigment inks in India as major products are cotton based and big home textile segment both in domestic and exports.
Dr. Rajiv Verma: At the moment in Indian market there is some resistance for pigment. We have not shown samples to our customers wherein we have achieved 100 per cent results. But soon we will start showing the same. Other part is the pigment ink cost, which is also important, until and unless the cost comes down, the quantity will not increase, as India again is price sensitive market. Biggest advantage of pigment is that it can fix on both cotton and polyester without pre and post treatment so cost of production is less.
Today sustainable production is very important, how are you taking care of this aspect?
Michael Moliere: These days for production people, brands, owners and govt., compliance, ecology and sustainability are very important. Doesn’t matter if you buy the bleaching agent or coating, it should be certified from Oeko-tex or Bluesign. More and more customers are now a days becoming conscious to ecology and compliance.
All our products for digital textile printing are geared towards resource conservation and energy efficiency. The environmental benefits of this new process technology include genuine savings on water usage and disposal, plus an appreciable reduction in production-related waste. With DIAMONTEX, you conserve resources and save on your budget. Making these products available – and developing even better ones – is the core of our business. Our innovative force and proximity to the customer have been the characteristic hallmarks since the foundation of our company in 1894. All business units work every day to make life easier, safer and more convenient for our customers and in this way for the people in the world. Our customers can always rely on a uniform quality standard worldwide and equally on the high service orientation of our local experts.