"We are looking to expand scope of research here to develop cost-effective, fire-resistant work wear fabric for the country's firemen," ATIRA Director Dr A K Sharma said. Currently, such protective ‘work wear' for the firemen has to be imported, with each dress costing as much as Rs 1.5 lakh, industry sources said.
Before this, ATIRA had developed technology to manufacture fire-resistant fabric for Oil and Gas sector workers. "We used different fibre blends to construct a fabric which meets the international specifications, which is suitable for Indian working conditions, and is yet cost-effective. It is now being used to make safety work wear for Oil and Gas sector employees," Sharma said.
The fabric is non-flammable. "The innovation in fabric development at ATIRA has brought down the cost of safety wear for Oil and Gas sector workers from Rs 8,000 to Rs 3,000 per dress, a drop of 60 per cent," he claimed. The makers are now in the process of getting CE certification (mandatory for exports to Europe) for this fabric, Sharma said.
In the pipeline are fabrics for workers of other industries where hazardous conditions exist. "We would be extending the scope of research to develop fabrics for foundry, mining and steel industry," Sharma said.
The ‘technical textile’ industry (which produces specialised fabrics for industrial workers or firemen) is growing at the rate of 12-15 per cent annually in India.