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Johan Berlin InvestKonsult Sweden AB

Johan Berlin
MD , InvestKonsult Sweden AB

What impact do sustainability initiatives of consumer brands have on nonwovens or hygiene sector?
Johan Berlin
If you are referring to India in particular, it does not have a huge impact at this particular moment. But, it does not take much imagination to see how this will also be a trend in India. I think that the main worry is about landfills and the issue with various sanitary products being placed in landfills. This issue, however, needs to be solved on a broader scale. Personally, I do not believe that this is going to be solved fully by bio-degradable products. And, even if it would be financially viable with such products, the problem with health issues and rag-pickers would remain. The bio-degradable diaper or sanitary napkin can have a future as long as it is placed in a guarded or enclosed landfill, and let it bio-degrade there. But that would also call for sorting of the product at source, and I find that highly unlikely at the moment. Thus, I believe that incineration is the best alternative. But that's not only up to the absorbent hygiene products' producers to handle. There are many other products and producers that jointly should take responsibility and action towards minimising the landfills in general in India.

If we look at other parts of the world, SCA is a prime example of showing how sustainability can be made into a marketing tool. Various campaigns on social media such as tree-planting and get-togethers have proved this, not only in the western society but also in China.
With the launch of the 'Make in India' campaign, do you foresee any difference in opportunity in the technical textile sector of the country?
Johan Berlin
Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' campaign will generate great benefits for the nonwovens and absorbent hygiene industries. But of course, we would have preferred a particular focus on these industries in the campaign. Still, it's important to note that the potential growth for nonwovens is strongly associated with growth and investments being made in other industries. For instance, a strong development in the automotive industry along with the 'Make in India' campaign initiatives for strengthening of automobile and automotive components industries will affect the nonwovens industry in a positive way. The presence of nonwovens is steadily increasing in the automotive sector. Today, more than 40 automotive parts are made with nonwoven fabrics, from interiors like carpets to air and fuel filters. It is also important to note that for the nonwovens industry, India should consider the 'Make in India' campaign as something which is both - made in India and consumed in India as well. Exporting nonwovens out of India at this time seems pointless, when so much of nonwovens needed domestically is still being imported. I think that this is something that many producers tend to forget.
Apart from nonwovens or hygiene sector, are you contemplating to enter any other sector of technical textile
Johan Berlin
Currently, we are fully occupied with the commitment to these two industries. We believe we can offer our customers a better service and develop greater expertise, if we keep focusing on nonwovens and absorbent hygiene equipment only.
What is the market size for this sector of machinery? Which are the main countries buying majorly in this segment? Where is India placed?
Johan Berlin
The market size for machinery is very difficult to estimate. The market size for products in the nonwovens sector is between USD 25-30 billion annually, and is expected to grow to USD 45 billion by 2019. So, there's certainly room for growth. Considering that the price for a line can vary from USD 200,000 (simple Chinese-manufactured needlepunch line) up to USD 45 million (complete Reicofil 4 spunbond line with all bells and whistles), it's impossible to put a number on the equipment sales worldwide. The majority of the buyers of equipment are in China. But, they mainly buy domestically produced Chinese machinery. Apart from that, majority of equipment buyers are in the US and Europe, with a focus on already existing nonwoven companies upgrading or substituting older lines for more modern lines. India is still placed quite low on the ladder, when it comes to equipment (new equipment) purchasing.
What is the kind of after sales service that you offer?
Johan Berlin
At Investkonsult, we can supply full turnkey installations as well as only sell the equipment as it is. Since our main segment is used equipment, it is usually not sold with any type of guarantees. It is sold "as is - where is", unless, of course, we undertake a full turnkey operation, as then it becomes our responsibility to put it into working condition, no matter what. In that case, we will provide that. Apart from that, we are known to take responsibility at a far larger stretch than most of our competitors. We usually assist our customers several years from a purchase with advice, contacts and even mechanical help and fine-tuning of their lines, even though it may not have been a part of our original commitment or undertaking.
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View comments on this interview Published on : 19 Feb 2015
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