Understanding NonWovens From “The Father” Of NonWovens Of India

TECHNICAL TEXTILE VALUE CHAIN had an exclusive interview with Mr. Mohan Kavrie, Supreme Nonwovens Group.

Tell us about your Journey

Our journey started in August 1986. Supreme Nonwovens first plant was in Bhilad, a village near Vapi in Gujarat. At that time, there were only two very small sick Nonwoven units in the country and both were on the verge of closure. In short, 1986 was a very important year for the Nonwoven Industry, because that was the year in which three new companies got into the Nonwoven business. Uni Products, a Delhi-based company, Hitkari fibers in Mahad, Maharashtra and Supreme Nonwovens, in Vapi – Gujarat. The journey of each of us has been quite different.

We soon understood the user Industry for Nonwovens in India was very limited and therefore the way for growth was to install facilities for all the different Nonwoven Technologies that use Staple Fibers as the main input.

Over the next few years, we added production lines for all the types of Nonwoven Production with also different finishing processes. We have four plants in Gujarat for manufacturing of the different Nonwovens. As the business grew, we have added multiple more production lines and are now the largest and most diversified Nonwoven Company in India.

The boom of the Automotive Industry started around 1996 with the entry of several foreign car manufacturers.

The interiors of these new cars were very different from earlier. All the new models had molded carpets in the passenger  side and trunk, NVH insulations in the engine and passenger side and molded Roof Liners. All these components are based on Nonwoven materials. This gave us the opportunity to use our Nonwovens and become Tier-I suppliers to the Auto Industry. Being the first in India, we were able to get the business of practically all the Passenger and Commercial vehicle manufacturers in India. These components are very large and voluminous.

Cost of packaging and transportation of these parts is very high. Also, supplies have to be made just-in-time. We therefore decided to go close to the Customer. We now have plants in twelve locations spread across India from North to South and West to East, that serve the Auto Industry.

Product Innovation and Strategies

We are basically a B2B company. All that we manufacture and sell is done according to the specific requirement of a customer. So, it is more about developing and innovating than mere manufacturing and selling. It is a very customized business where the customer also has to work along with us. They first need to explain to us what exactly they are looking for and then take trials with the fabrics developed by us and validate it. This is a lengthy process but has its own advantages because usually the joint effort between us and the customer during the development process results in long-term business.

Nonwoven Business

We are basically a nonwoven company. While we have the facilities to cater to practically every application and Industry, we have chosen to focus on a few key areas. First area is the Auto Industry. It forms the major part of our business.

The second major area is Filtration – air, liquid and solid filtration. Pollution Control Filter Bags is an important part of this business.

The Third major is Garment Interlinings. This is a very specialized business. All the foreign brands mandate those doing the garmenting for them to purchase only from those nominted by them after a stringent process of approval. We have the nomination from most of the foreign brands that source from India. We also have several other customized products that we have developed for certain special applications.

Automobile Industry Business:

The components manufactured and supplied by us to the Auto Industry requires Nonwoven Fabrics made by all the different technologies. Normally in most of the other countries, the component supplier is the Tier-I supplier and sources his Nonwoven requirement from different Nonwoven Tier-II suppliers. We have the advantage of being Tier-I and Tier-II and this gives us a distinct advantage over our competitors who are dependent on other Nonwoven manufacturers.

Another edge enjoyed by us is the footprint we have across the country and as a result have the business of practically every Passenger and Commercial vehicle company. There is no competitor that has a coverage comparable to us.

We now have a presence in Thailand with two plants in Bangkok.

Electronic Vehicle and Industry

EV is a big disrupter for sure! Very many suppliers are going to suffer loss of business or loss of growth. The production of IC engine vehicles will not stop. All the growth in numbers would come mostly from EV. Fortunately, the components supplied by us are required in EV vehicles.The other Technical Textile materials required by the Auto Industry are seat fabrics, air-bags, safety belts and some filters. All these will be required in EV vehicles.

Therefore Technical Textile Industry has nothing to worry on account of EV. In fact there is scope for more Technical Textile use in automobiles due to advances in Composites.

Market Share and Size

I am unable to give a number as I do not believe in giving random numbers without any basis. Suffice to say that we are the largest and most diversified. I can tell you this much, that the Nonwovens Industry in India is not even a small fraction of what it is claimed. This is true about all Technical Textiles.

As regards the scope in Auto Industry, my intention is not to discourage by informing that there are already more than enough good manufacturers of all the Technical Textile based items required in the Auto Industry.

Additionally, the process of vendor approval is very demanding. Moreover, as there are already several suppliers, a new entrant will find it difficult to get enough business to cover the high capital cost. Also, there are many other aspects than manufacturing.


The need to focus on sustainability has become very important. Everybody has to focus on sustainability.

In fact, it is partly driven by the demand from the Auto Companies who have been given the ultimate responsibility of ensuring sustainability in the entire ecosystem of the supply chain. Sustainability is therefore definitely a focus area.


I do not see any great scope for start-ups as far as technical textile is concerned. It is a highly capital intensive Industry. Can you often tell me of a start-up that has become a unicorn in manufacturing? Moreover, start-ups becoming ‘unicorns’ is rare in the manufacturing sector. In services it is possible but it is rare in manufacturing.

It should be noted that Manufacturing is a small part of the business. Marketing is the more important part. To create a market is not so easy.


Technical Textiles is a knowledge-based Industry. This knowledge is not readily available and it definitely helps if one can get a JV Partner. It is difficult to find a partner only for technology, they usually prefer to be equity partners. Most Technical Textile companies in the developed countries are small to medium family-owned companies. They have little experience of operating in other countries. Here we need to admit that India is a difficult country for most foreigners.

The Technical Textile industry in India is very small and the number of new machines purchased each year is not enough to sustain any machinery manufacturer. It is extremely difficult to have domestic manufacturing of basic production lines, there is definite scope to localize some of the ancillary and finishing equipment.

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