Making India self-reliant

As doctors, nurses and medical staff across the globe, especially in India, are risking their lives amid the COVID-19 pandemic, textile manufacturer JCT Limited is ready to bring out its PP Hazmat suit for the Indian medical staff. Here in an interaction with Priya Thapar, who believes that this PP suit would also help reduce India's dependency on high priced and low quality imports. "Self reliance in industry is critical to India's economic and geo-political independence," she adds.

What was the inspiration behind creating PPE suits (Hazmat)?

JCT Limited was established in 1946 and has always been a pioneer in developing new fabrics and garments for a variety of applications. We have been exporting specialised medical apparel for doctors and nurses, as well as medical linen for hospitals to Europe and the United States for the past 15 years.

Earlier this year, watching media reports on the outbreak of COVID-19 in Italy, France, Spain, UK and the US, it was heartbreaking to see their medical workers getting infected and dying, due to their huge shortages of PPE.

These fatalities have been further compounded by supplies of low quality non-woven PP suits supplied by unscrupulous manufacturers from China and some other countries.

JCT had been working on some developments of high specification 'CBRN PP suits' for some time so I decided that we would employ all our resources, especially as our factories in Punjab were under lockdown at the time, to develop a high quality strong and reusable PPE Suit for our Indian medical staff; so that the nation could be prepared for a vast outbreak of COVID-19

This would also help reduce India's dependency on high priced and low quality imports. Self reliance in industry is critical to India's economic and geo-political independence.

We achieved this in record time and informed the Government of India's concerned departments of our JCT Rakshak Pro-019 PP Hazmat suit – Reusable 5X, the first of its kind to be developed and manufactured in India.

What is the cost and for how long it will last?

Our JCT Pro-019 PP Hazmat suit is certified by SITRA for ASTM F 1670 and ISO-22612 standards as well tested for reusability a minimum of five times, after suitable sterilisation, prior to each re-use.

What were the key designs and safety elements kept in mind while creating it?

Most of the suits used in China, Europe and the US have been manufactured using non-woven fabrics, very often being laminated. While this may be suitable for cold temperature conditions of winter and spring in these countries, these are very warm and uncomfortable to wear in the hot tropical climate of India.

Our JCT Pro-019 PP Hazmat suit is impermeable to penetration by contaminated blood and fluids at high pressure, as well as to solid contaminant penetration. It has a high level of breathability with good body mobility in all directions, thereby making it comfortable for the wearer in India.

How do you see the future of textile industry creating work-wear fabrics by keeping in mind the infection risk and safety?

I believe that 'anti-infective wear is going to be the new normal' and so we have already developed our JCT VB-GO Composite Technology to enhance the protection factor of our range of re-usable garments, masks, coveralls and linen for medical workers, armed forces, paramilitary and police forces, industrial, airline, railway, metro, roadways and hospitality workers, school and office uniforms, as well as a range of fashion ready to wear garments.

To further enhance the hygiene factor and reduction of need for washing of these garments, we have also extended to these, the use of 'viral-off' technology from 'Polygiene AB' of Sweden, who will work exclusively with JCT Textiles in India.

In your view, how do you see safety go along with fashion? Do you think safety measures may overtake the design in fashion?

Fabrics that provide safety features to fashion garments are commercially feasible and practical to implement and this as I have said earlier 'anti-infective wear is the new normal'. Our daily use ready to wear garments will all require such features as this will help reduction of spread of various virus, bacterial and protozoan based diseases. For example we have some fabrics that are treated to repel vectors such a mosquitos and sand flies, which carry the pathogens for malaria, filarisis, dengue, chikungunya, encephalitis, kala-azar, and many others. Other fabrics reduce the virulence of viral pathogens such as H1NI, H3N2 and H5N1, and others.

As your PPE suit has been certified by SITRA, when you can start the production for supply?

Our JCT Pro-019 PP Hazmat suit is already in mass production. We are also developing future models of this suit.

In your view, what makes the JCT PRO-019 HAZMAT SUIT unique?

The JCT Pro-019 is the only 100% indigenously developed and manufactured PP Hazmat suit that exceeds the parameters of SITRA and DRDO and is re-usable, thereby reducing the cost per wear of a high quality PP suit, protecting the wearer.

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