Man-made fiber industry is an essential part of the textile industry. Such fibers are more durable, easily washable and free from shrinkage. These are mass produced and their production is not affected by the vagaries of the nature.

These fibers are mainly divided into two groups: (a) cellulose (rayon an acetate), and (b) non-cellu­lose (nylon polyester, etc). Of these cellulose fibers are mainly derived from wood pulp (from bamboo, eucalyptus, etc).

History and Development

In India man-made fiber weaving units using imported rayon and synthetic yarns came into being between 1925 and 1935. But the first indigenous rayon manufacturing plant was established by the Travancore Rayons Ltd at Rayapuram (Kerala) in 1945 (production started in 1950).


Two other plants were set up at Mumbai and Hyderabad in the next year. In 1954 fourth plant was set up at Nagada (Madhya Pradesh) by Birla Brothers in 1954. In 1961 the Century Rayon Mills was set up at Mumbai. At present there are about 50 units producing cellulosic and synthetic fabrics. These units have total installed capacity of 1.47 lakh tones with employment potential of30, 000 persons. The industry has an investment of over Rs.280 crores and provides yarns to 1, 10,000 power looms and over 4 lakh handlooms.

Raw Materials

Cellulose pulp derived from bamboo, euca­lyptus and other woods is the basic raw material for producing viscose or acetate rayon yarns. The coun­try produces about 75 per cent of the rayon-grade pulp indigenously and the remaining need is met through import.

The raw materials (caprolactum, naphtha, pollster chips, ethylene, glycol, etc.) re­quired for the production of synthetic fibers (nylon, pollster, and acrylic) are mostly imported. Recently two public sector plants have been set up at Vadodara (capacity 44,000 tones) to manufacture polypropylene.



The man-made fiber industry is capital-inten­sive and is mainly based on imported raw materials.

The industry is mainly associated with large textile houses. Their largest concentration is noticed in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Delhi. Mumbai and its suburbs (Kalyan, Thane and Goregaon have a large number of man-made fiber units. Other important centres include Vadodara, Kanpur, Kolkata, Chennai, Modinagar, Pune, Hyderabad, Ujjain, Nagpur, Kota, Rayapuram etc. Besides, there are a large number of powerlooms and handlooms in the decentralised sector associated with man-made fibers. The impor­tant units manufacturing rayon, nylon filament yarn, nylon tire cord and other types of yarn fiber are as follows:

(a) Rayon units-Kagaznagar (Andhra Pradesh), Udhn (near Surat, Gujarat, Junagarh (Gujarat), Rayapuram (Kerala), Birlagram (Himachal Pradesh), Nagda (Madhya Pradesh), Kalyan (near Mumbai, Maharashtra), Pimpri-Pune (Maharashtra), Goregaon (Maharashtra), Kota (Rajasthan), Mettupalayam (Tamilnadu), Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh), and Tribeni (West Bengal).


(b) Nylon filament yarn units-J.K. Synthetics, Kota; Garware Nylons Ltd. Pimpri-Pune; Modipan Ltd.. Modinagar; Century Enka Ltd.. Bhosari-Pune; Stretch Fibres, Nagpur; and the Industrial Develop­ment Corporation of the states of Gujarat (Vadodara), Haryana(Chandigarh), Karnataka (Bangalore), Tamil Nadu (Chennai), Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad), Kerala (Thiruvananthapuram), Bihar (Barauni), West Ben­gal (Kolkata), and U.P. (Kanpur).

(c) Nylon staple fibre units-J.K. Synthetics, Kota; Arthur Import and Export, Mumbai; and Indian Petrochemical Corporation Ltd. Vadodara

(d) Nylon tyre cord units-J.K. Synthetics, Kota (1972); Nirlon, Mumbai; Shree Ram Fibres, Chennai (1975); National Rayon, Kalyan; and Baroda Rayons, Udhn.

(e) Polyster stable fibre units-Chemical and Fibres India Ltd., Thane (1965); Ahmadabad Manufactring Ltd., Vadodara (1974); Swadesh Polytecs, Ghaziabad (1973), Indian Organic Chemicals, Manali (1973), J.K. Synthetic Ltd., Kota (1972).


(f) Polyster filament yarn units-Nirlon (Mumbai, 1967); J.K. Synthetics, Kota (1967), Garware Nylons, Pune (1973); Modipon Ltd., Modinagar (1973); Shree Synthetics, Ujjain (1973); Baroda Rayon, Udhna (1976); Petrofils Corporation Ltd. Vadodara.


India produced 61,000 tons of rayon fila­ment yarn; 1, 78,000 tones of rayon viscose staple fiber; about 34,000 tones of acetate yarn; 29,000 tones of nylon filament yarn; and 5,23,000 tones of pollster staple fiber in 1998-99.

Thus the coun­try’s total output of man-made fibers is more than 16 lakh tones per annum. Table 20. VIII exhibits the trends of man-made fiber production in the country from 1960-61 to 2004-05. While there is about three times increase in the output of cellulosic filament yarn during last 44 years the growth has been phe­nomenal in respect of synthetic filament yarn and synthetic staple fibres.



The indigenous production of raw materials for man-made fiber is insufficient to meet the coun­try’s requirement. Hence, man-made filament and staple fibers are imported from Japan, Germany, United Kingdom and France.

In 1988-89 India im­ported Rs. 129.83 crores of man-made filaments which increased to Rs. 1615 crores in 2002-03 (increase by 12.4 times). Similarly the value of imported man-made staple fibers rose more than 15 times from Rs. 44.39 crores in 1988-89 to Rs. 671.78 crores in 2002-03.

Besides, India also exports man-made fila­ment, staple fibers and fabrics to various countries like Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Kenya, Sudan, Morocco, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand and Canada etc. In 1988- 89 India exported Rs. 2343.8 crores of man-made filament which increased to Rs. 3396 crores (more than 28 times increase). Similarly the value of the export of man-made staple fibres increased from Rs. 73.89 crores in 1988-89 to Rs. 2939.6 in 2002-03. The export of artificial silk fabrics amounted to 26 mil. Meters valued at Rs. 26.8 crores in 1977-78.



The textile industry using man-made fibers is also confronted with many problems Like shortage of raw materials, high import tariffs, dearth of machin­ery spares and chemicals, high electricity and water rates, old and obsolete machinery and labour trouble etc. Hence, there is a need to improve the supply of raw materials and also boost up the quantity and quality of the export.