BANGALORE — October 4, 2023 — After four decades in the packaging industry, the Manjushree Group is entering the Indian nonwovens market with ambitious goals. The entrepreneurs rely on a flexible RF Smart Composite line from Reifenhäuser Reicofil to meet very different customer requirements.
The Manjushree Group may be a newcomer to the nonwovens industry, but it is not a blank slate: Company founder Vimal Kedia operated a blown film line for packaging materials for the tea industry in the eastern part of India as early as 1983. In the years that followed, Manjushree Technopack Ltd. developed into one of the largest suppliers of solutions for rigid plastic products in South Asia – and the family business grew into a group with several business segments. In 2018, the entrepreneurial family repositioned itself: it sold its previous core business to a financial investor and established Manjushree Ventures with footholds in start-up financing, real estate business, and manufacturing – the largest of which is Manjushree Spntek as a producer of high-quality spunmelted fabrics.
“We invest in modern, technology-based companies that are shaping the future – for example, in the healthcare sector,” says Rajat Kedia, Managing Director at Manjushree Ventures, describing the company’s philosophy. “A detailed market study revealed a large growth potential in disposable medical products and hygiene items. That’s why we founded Manjushree Spntek.
Experience as a core competence in the new market
Since February 2023, Manjushree Spntek has been producing high- performance spunmelts on an RF Smart Composite line from Reifenhäuser Reicofil – benefiting both from many years of experience in the packaging industry and from experience with Reifenhäuser’s blown film lines. “We know a lot about plastic extrusion, for example when it comes to line operating parameters such as temperature and pressure. Processing is similar in both industries,” explains Rajat Kedia. “The main difference is the distribution of the products: In plastic packaging, we had an established customer base and sold a lot of material to the big consumer goods manufacturers. The nonwovens market in India, on the other hand, is still forming, with thousands of small companies currently getting involved.” These serve customers in their regions, such as hospitals.
Challenge: small-scale market
Small-volume markets present spunmelt producers with their own unique challenges: Many customers tend to buy smaller quantities, but have specific requirements for the spunmelt. In India, the material also has to meet the different regulations of the approximately 30 states. For example, there are different specifications for colors, properties and basis weights. And then, of course, customers have high quality requirements: “Customers are looking at better web uniformity, more softness, lighter weight fabrics and off course cheaper if possible”,describes Rajat Kedia.
“Our need was for a machine which can cater to the entire gamut of requirements right from 10 GSM to 100 GSM, being extremely cost efficient for colour changes, but most importantly being consistent with product quality and cost”, Rajat Kedia summarizes the requirements for the spunmelt line. “We chose an RF Smart line from Reifenhäuser Reicofil. The technology is very flexible and allows us to respond to the current needs of the market.”
RF Smart: ideal for smaller and emerging markets
The RF Smart Composite line is a standardized spunmelt line for smaller and emerging markets. The line produces nonwovens of the highest Reicofil quality with appropriately adapted throughput. This makes it ideally suited for applications in hygiene and medical technology and, with typically 8,200 annual production hours, it is extremely reliable. In addition, operators can start production quickly because in many cases the line can be integrated into existing buildings. “The RF Smart is an alternative to lines with a particularly high output, such as RF5 and RF5 Plus, or special requirements, such as RF5x and RF 5 Tech,” explains Falk Roesner, Sales Manager at Reifenhäuser Reicofil.
Qualities that also convinced the Kedia family of entrepreneurs: “The Smart line is suitable for emerging markets and delivers exactly the same quality of product as the higher version of the machine, yet being very agile and flexible in running – Quick changeovers, low running speed to 400 mtr per min and minimal wastages, optimal power consumption, etc.”, says Rajat Kedia. “The main advantage is the competitive pricing of this line, we feel extremely pleased with our decision to go with this Smart technology.”
Spunmelt production newly established
Before production could start, Manjushree built a new production building in Bidadi, a town an hour’s drive from Bangalore International Airport. The building is designed to be sustainable: It uses natural light and fresh air, has comprehensive contamination control, and obtains almost all of its energy from renewable sources. Reifenhäuser Reicofil then installed, commissioned and tested the RF Smart Composite line.”Reicofil’s experts helped us with process settings and machine parameters to achieve the best result with minimal downtime,” Rajat Kedia describes. “Reicofil’s experience and expertise in improving products is tremendous. In addition, their world-class support and services are always available and they are open to new ideas – whether it’s products, customer experience or machine improvements.”
Products for hygiene and medical industry
Since February 2023, Manjushree Spntek has been producing high-quality spunmelted nonwovens, including ultra-soft fabrics and fabrics with special coatings for customers in the hygiene and medical industries. The material can be used, for example, for baby diapers and feminine hygiene products, but also for medical articles ranging from surgical gowns to surgical drapes.
Manjushree Spntek is also working on many development projects with customers – after all, setting up production is only the first step: “We entered the nonwovens market to become the market leader,” says Rajat Kedia, who believes he is well equipped to achieve this ambitious goal: „While we are new to production of Nonwovens; we are experts in deciphering customer delight, consistent quality and innovative R&D. The most important factor being understanding of the customer needs and delivery to their delight. This is our single minded focus for all our customers, large or small.“
Requirements for the spunmelt line:
- Making a finer filament for better web uniformity
- Enhanced thickness for the softener and superior feel at lower grammages
- High hydro head for superior protection
- Better tensile properties
- Ability to switch from one product to another with minimal wastage
Insight into the production:
- ultra soft fabrics and fabrics with special coatings
- Width: 60 mm to 3200 mm
- Basis weight: 20 to 100 gsm
- Throughput: 800 tons per month targeted
- Raw materials: polypropylene nonowvens with anykind of value-added tropical treatments
About Manjushree Spntek
- 2018 founded as part of the Manjushree Group
- Headquarters: Bangalore
- Employees: 110
- Products: High-performance spunmelt nonwovens for surgical gowns and drapes, baby diapers, feminine hygiene products, among others.
- Markets: mainly medical and hygiene industry, but also industrial applications
- Production starts in February 2023
Posted: October 9, 2023
Source The Reifenhäuser Group