Want to increase market share of specialty products
Based in Wynyard, UK, Venator is a global producer of titanium dioxide, colour pigments, functional additives, timber treatment and water treatment products. It employs approximately 3,700 associates worldwide and sells its products in more than 120 countries. Fibre2Fashion interviewed Xandra Blaser, Global Business Director of Venator, to understand what factors will drive the usage of pigments in the textiles business going forward, the sustainable practices being implemented and investment in new technologies by the company.
How was your industry affected by the pandemic? What were the major problems faced?
Various regional lockdowns around the world during 2020 meant end consumers did not spend as much money on clothing. Retail outlets were closed and since many people were working from home and not travelling, new garments were not required. Many customers stopped operating their sites completely due to strict lockdowns e.g, in India, which interrupted the whole textile supply chain. In Q4 2020 demand increased, production sites began re-starting and online shopping increased. Since then, we've seen strong demand, almost back to pre-Covid levels. However, the gap in the textile business in 2020 will not be fully recovered in the short-term.
What changes have you made to your overall operations to tide over the global crisis?
Apart from safety changes that we made to accommodate social distancing and various lockdowns, not much changed. We have continued focusing on close customer contact and strengthening our partnerships with our agents and customers. We've also been continuing with our R&D activities to further focus our efforts on innovation in this sector.
Where do your pigments find their application in the textile industry?
We sell our pigments and additives to polymer producers (polyester, polyamide), who use our Titanium dioxide (TiO2) products as a matting agent. Customers vary in the focus of their work. Some sell the chips to spinners; some have their own spinning and even textile downstream facilities. Our Hombitan range is a benchmark in the market that customers know and trust.
How much is the pigments usage of textiles going to increase in the coming years?
TiO2 is used as a matting agent in synthetic fibres like polyester and polyamide and demand for this pigment is predicted to increase further due to the superior functionality of synthetic fibres versus standard fibres such as cotton. With in-built performance properties such as heat control, UV protection, fast drying and weather resistance, synthetic fibres are much more popular than traditional fabrics. With increasing consumer demand for these materials - driven by improved standards of living and more disposal income - the manufacturing of synthetic fibres will continue to expand, thereby driving higher usage of pigments such as titanium dioxide.
Which are your major products for the industry?
We offer a range of products including:
Hombitan LWSU100 for polyester
Hombitan LOCRSMWO for polyamide
Hombitan LCS for polyester masterbatch and viscose
Hombitan LWS100 for viscose
And our latest launch, Hombitan LQ White, is a liquid masterbatch for polyester. This pigment masterbatch technology can be used to whiten recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fibres quickly, cleanly, and efficiently. Based on our established titanium dioxide (TiO2) platform for the fibre industry, the new Hombitan LQ range is optimised for delustering PET fibres that have been obtained from sources such as plastic bottles and re-spun into polyester--ready for creating new consumer products including footwear, apparel, and other textiles applications.
What differentiates your textile chemical products from other manufacturers?
Predominantly it's our quality. We are a leading global chemical company dedicated to the development and manufacture of titanium dioxide pigments and performance additives and are experts at what we do. Our global team has developed a range of products spanning all major fibre requirements e.g polyester, polyamide, viscose, and acetate. Our reach and our strong technical and analytical support also help to differentiate us. We have a talented team of individuals who are committed to continuous, customer-focused innovation, and to making products that make a difference to daily life and contribute to a more sustainable future.
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