Sivakasi is a big industrial centre, thanks to its enterprising and work conscious people.  It is situated in Virudhunagar district of Tamilnadu state. It is a dry and hot region. Sivakasi is well known all over India for its industries like Fire works, Match Industries, Printing Industries. In fact the whole country depends on Sivakasi for its supply of fire works and matches. As these industries are well developed, Sivakasi is nick-named "Little Japan  (Kutty Japan) in India" was given by Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru ( First Prime Minister of INDIA ).

Match Industry

In 1922, P. Ayya Nadar and A. Shaunmuga Nadar were sent to Calcutta, (Where a few families from Japan engaged in the field of Match production of a small scale by using simply and manually operated machines) to learn about safety matches production from a Swedish Multi-National firm which was the sole manufacture of safety matches in India at that time. They returned to Sivakasi with all the requisite expertise and jointly established the First Match Unit called "The South India Lucifer Match Industry" in 1923.


Match Industry needs only very simple technology
Production can be undertaken both in the Mechanized and Capital investment in the non-mechanized sector are comparatively small.
As it is labour intensive in character, employment opportunities can be brought to the every doorstep.

Present Position

Now Sivakasi meet about 55 to 60% of India’s requirement of safety matches. The market is estimated to grow at an average of 10% of per annum. Nearly 55% of workers are employed in the match sector. About 3500 Match works are situated in Sivakasi and Sattur. They are started with a modest capital of Rs.25,000/- and are generally managed by women including house wives as men were involved in selling the products. Around 30,000 persons are directly employed.

Arranging the match sticks  stack of match stick racks Dipping process
components of match box Coating sides of match boxes  Filling box with dipped sticks

      Packing process


From 1991, this match industries is facing problems like Mechanization and causes Excess production (ie 38% surplus than demand). 
Match works units depend an Kerala for supply of soft wood to manufacture of Match stick from Wood splint. With environmental protection top priority now, the Kerala government stop felling of trees thus drying up this supply. 
Use of matches dead lined by enhanced tobacco chewing habit.

Fire Works Industry

The discipline of Fire Works is technology called "Pyrotechnics". It is derived from the Greek Word "Pyre" meaning fire and techniques meaning an art. The first Fire works industry was started in 1923.

Types of Fire Works

There are four types of fire works

  • Noise (Crackers)
  • Light (Sparkers)
  • Motion (Rockets)
  • Mixture of noise, light, motion (Fancy or display)

Significance of the Fire Works

There are nearly 450 fire works factories giving direct employment, to about 40,000 workers and about 1 lakhs indirect such as paper tube making, Wire cutting, Box making sale distribution in the country side. The market for fire works is likely to grow at the rate of 10% per annum. The annual out put is over 50,000 tones, and turn over (at factory cost) around Rs.350 crores according to industrial sources. State Government collected about 40 million rupees by way of sale tax from fire works alone.

Sivakasi Railway Station gets revenue of Rs.15 million per year, nearly 29% of workers are employed in fire works. Fireworks in Sivakasi also produced Military Weapons training items. They are used for training on Japan. Some airports are using Sivakasi Rocket to scare away birds to avoid bird hits of aircrafts.

The accident rate is much below 1% in Fire Works industries while in all other industries it was range from 5 to 47 percentage.

Fire works industry a profile










No. of Units










Connecting crackers with twain Preparing long sticks Inserting twisted twine
Chemical mixed rope Making sparklers Filling explosive chemicals


Limited range of varieties in fire works

Dis-economics of scale

Competition from china and new entrance such as Taiwan, Korea.

Acts & Regulating agencies

Being a hazardous industry, the units are regulated by a host of Law such as the Explosive Act 1984, Explosives rules 1983, the Arms Act 1959 and Arms rules 1962.

The regulating agencies includes the Department of Explosives of Government of India and various Departments of State Government.

Future prosperity

If the government provides technical facilities for testing and Research & Development and incentives, there is scope for export to us Europeans and other Asian countries which are fascinated by Indian Fire works. They can earn precious Foreign Exchange.

Printing Industries

Sivakasi, renowned the world over for its printing, Litho Presses, offset printing machines of which is the second largest number in the world, next to Guthenburg, a city in Germany. Around 450  printing presses including offset & flexo types are located in and around Sivakasi.  

The whole printing industry is Sivakasi is salutes to  founder respected Sri. S. Kaliappa Nadar.  In 1937 he established "Sivakasi Industrial Printing Works", thus paved way for the offset printing Technology in Sivakasi.

More than 50,000 workers are engaged in printing and allied industries.  The town has a school of printing technology that produces every year of about 150 candidates were placed in India and in other Gulf countries.

Security jobs like printing bank Cheque books, flight tickets and lottery tickets were undertaken by the leading presses in Sivakasi.  Most of the leading presses are successfully competing with the international bidders, especially in Asia in the export quality printing of Children's books, notebooks, magazines, greeting cards, calendars, trade labels and cartons.

The most complex and variegated part of the entire production process is finishing and binding.  Sivakasi is most proud to achieve outstanding results, which have amazed many of its international customers.

Step-by-step, which follows after printing.

Knurling - Embossing the paper surface.

Lamination - Hot lamination with Bopp, Polyester etc. in various thickness

Aqua Varnish - Specialized water based vanishing, involving spot & flood varnishing.

Folding  Machines - Perforated folding for thicker paper, folding from 4,8,12,16,24 & 32 printing pages.

then Cutters, Tipping, Edge Gilding, Corner rounding & edge gilding, Creasing and Punching, Case making, Compact line, Perfect binding, Foil press, Index cutting, Wire-o-Wire binding, Shrink Wrapping etc.,

Arrival of computers has complemented the printing business and has played a vital role in increasing its status as a clean profession.

The Sivakasi Institute of Printing Technology was founded in the year 1977. It is intended  for training students in printing processes, with a special emphasis on offset printing.

Digital Printing Fully Automated index cutting  Saddle Stitcher


UV drier - spot & flood varnishing

Factors responsible for the success of these industries

Favourable climatic condition
Cheap labour
Less interference of trade union
Enterprising and work conscious people
Development of ancillary industries
Market potential
Entrepreneurship and strong manufacturing association.