AGS and X-Rite are celebrating 25 years of collaboration this year, with a series of events in various cities and clusters, where the two partners will closely interact with their customers and promote their united strengths of world class coloration technology and service. On the sidelines of the first in the series of events in Ahmedabad, Textile Excellence spoke with V.C. Gupte, Head Colour Business, Advanced Graphic Systems, Rajesh Shah, Vice President, Advanced Graphic Systems, and Felix Pinto, General Manager – South Asia, Southeast Asia & ANZ, X-Rite India Pvt. Ltd. about their collaborative journey.
AGS has had a really long association with X-Rite.
V.C. Gupte: Yes, we’ve had a long and successful collaboration with X-Rite, spanning 25 years. AGS was incorporated 27 years ago. This year, we are celebrating our silver anniversary with X-Rite, with a series of events in various cities and clusters, where we can closely interact with our valued customers.
X-Rite has the widest range of instruments for the colour industry, be it textiles, dyestuffs, pigments, ink, paint, plastic, print and packaging, automobiles, cosmetics, online and offline instruments for denim Industry – no other instrument manufacturer can boast such a complete range.
Tell us about some interesting experiences you have had with X-Rite all these years?
V. C. Gupte: It’s been a very interesting journey, lots of challenges, lot of experiences and learning. As you know, in the colour industry we face problems with colour consistency and matching almost every day. So, we can say that every single day was eventful, and kept us active, finding solutions for the colour industry.
And here our partnership with X-Rite has really paid off, as they have solutions and tools for everything colour, in every possible industry.
Felix Pinto: Typically, India is a very competitive market, and it has its own set of challenges, especially in terms of expertise, technology and adaptability. In my opinion, I would say, AGS has been in the forefront ensuring that our technology reaches every industry at every level. It has been a very successful collaboration – wherein commercial executions have been done by AGS, while the technical expertise, in terms of final results, has been backed by X-Rite. I would say together we have overcome a lot of challenges across various segments.
Textiles is a critical segment for us, and particularly challenging because of the various factors involved – water availability and usage, quality and consistency of water and other inputs, contamination, etc. all of which impact textile coloration. Together, X-Rite and AGS have helped the textile industry to overcome various hurdles in colouration, while ensuring sustainability and speed to market.
Over these years, how has colour consistency, and colour management improved in the textile industry?
Rajesh Shah: Today colour management solutions such as X-Rite’s are an integral part of the textile and dyeing industry. No new project can be successful without these instruments.
To illustrate the progress the industry has achieved in colour management, earlier the right colour and shade would take 2-3 corrections. But today the exact colours and shades are achieved the first time itself. This has been possible because of colour management tools, software solutions, where the colour is electronically communicated.
X-Rite has also made the supply chain shorter and efficient. Earlier physical samples would get exchanged with the buyer till the right colour was achieved. This could be a 3-4 months long process. Today, it takes hardly 15 days, and that too without the need for exchanging physical samples. The solutions ensure such high levels of accuracy. This has been possible due to X-rite products meeting high standard of repeatability and inter-instrument agreement.
This has become very important in the time of fast fashion. A retailer in the US or Europe will have a stack of tees from India, Bangladesh, China, Vietnam, but every piece is of the same colour. This is the level of consistency of these instruments.
And then we have the spectrophotometer, which not only has very high repeatability of measurement, but also inter-instrument communication. So with this it is possible to share the data electronically, because both the instruments will see the sample in the exact same way. For this reason, X-Rite spectrophotometer is mandated / approved by most of the multinational and national buying houses like Walmart, GAP, H&M, among others.
User industry also needs to pay attention to lab automation and manpower training. The production machinery should have all these lab equipment which will help and guide you to the correct direction in the shortest possible time.
How important is the Indian market for X-Rite?
Felix Pinto: In the recent years, I think there’s quite a bit of focus in terms of the Indian market. Around the world, people have been talking about alternative sourcing destinations, looking at options. And I think India stands tall in that, backed by skilled manpower, technical know-how, resources and availability of local automations. AGS and X-Rite as partners, both with complementary strengths, have been doing quite well here. India remains a critical focus market in the future, the next five years are going to be really good for us, and we have to look at how we need to sustain this momentum that we have. Definitely, strengthening our partnership, expansion our resources will help sustain this growth momentum.
In textiles, besides India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam are also fast growing markets for us.
What are your expectations from India ITME this time?
Felix Pinto: We are going as X-Rite individually to India ITME this time, and we will focus on our automated solutions for the textile industry. Expectations are very high from this show. We expect a good number of visitors, from India and neighbouring countries.
V.C. Gupte: We have very high expectations from India ITME this time. We will be showcasing our new products, latest software and how it can help the industry much more than what it was doing 10 years ago.
Today most of the colour industries are taking advantage of instrumentation. Earlier we used to see senior or corporate level clients using instrumentation, but now everybody has understood the need for it.
And going forward, where do you see colour management and instrumentation going, in what direction it will progress?
Rajesh Shah: I think accuracy levels and how colour gets communicated will be the direction of colour management technologies. What happens if we scan a colour? The same colour should be seen on the screen, and we should see the same colour on a printout. This is happening to a large extent in the printing and packaging industry. But now it is becoming a much sought after trend in the digital textile printing industry too. Now textile dyers and printers will exactly get an idea how the colour is applied.
And then lab automation, high accuracy and high speed dispensing systems will also become more and more important as these help in accurate and repeatable shades.
Anything else you would like to share about AGS or going forward?
V.C. Gupte: AGS has been in this field for the last 27 years now, we have been catering to the complete colour industry. We feel proud that there is no colour industry that is not handled by AGS, because of the team of colour experts that we have with us.
After-sales service is our strong point too. We provide complete application and service support and we have our network of service engineers spread across the country. We provide on-site servicing, and we also have three repair centres.
These are our strong points which no other dealers offer and this is the reason X-Rite has chosen us as their global service partner. So we are the only exclusive distribution and service partner for X-Rite.