High standards, stringent specifications and legislation are lacking in the huge Indian plastics industry, and machinery executives are split on whether that's a good thing.
Some international machine manufacturers want India to adopt global standards, while some local machine producers are comfortable with the status quo, highlighting the flourishing industry, widely projected to maintain a double-digit annual growth of 10-12 percent.
``We need a pressure which can only come through a regime of standards, specifications and legislation,'' said an anonymous official with a major foreign company that assembles its machines in India for the local and export markets.
Right now, most plastic producers in India are going by standards and specifications set by their customers.
However, Indian suppliers are not paying any heed to such a call, saying it would only bring about more regulations and hinder growth.
Mahesh Shah, president of the Plastindia Foundation, said standards would do very little for the industry, which is flourishing with outsourcing orders pouring in from quality-conscious, American and European multinational corporations producing global brands. Shah's group recently organized the 1,200-exhibitor-strong Plastindia show in New Dehli.
Deepak Mehta, director of Leevams Inc. of Vadodara, India, a sales agency representing international machinery companies, sees an urgent need for regulation to define specifications, especially in the area of recycled PET.
However, he acknowledged that India no longer is willing to work under the stringent regulations and controls that it had in its colonial days, which retarded the growth of industry.
Indian processors already are modernizing to meet requirements set by international customers.
``The Indian industry takes a little longer than China to upgrade its machinery to match world-class production. Although it is slow ... it is steady,'' said Avinash Anand, senior marketing executive at Mumbai, India-based Unimark, which sells injection molding machines made by Arburg GmbH + Co. KG of Lossburg, Germany.
Unimark expects to sell 15-20 machines a year into the Indian market, where demand for high-grade products from international brand manufacturers is picking up, Anand said.
One quality concern cited comes from the huge level of recycled products on the Indian market, since they cost just about half as much as products made from virgin materials.