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Industry 4.0: A typical discussion and recommendation for Bangladesh spinning industry

Before going to the details of the topics under the caption “Industry 4.0: A Typical discussion and Recommendation for Spinning Industry in Bangladesh”, we need to understand Industry 4.0 and why this industry 4.0 is a concern for the industrial sectors (the writer covers the Spinning Sectors).

Presently we are living in a digital world and digitization is ongoing throughout Bangladesh. We can say that the world is becoming smaller day by day but it does not mean that the word “smaller” concept is related to the size of this earth planet but with Information Communication Technology (ICT), Operational Technology (OT), and worldwide networking.

Industry 4.0 makes the manufacturing/production/operation a value-added creation process through digital transformation.

Figure 1: 4th industrial revolution is the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices by using modern smart technology.

Why spinning industry of Bangladesh is a concern in terms of Industry 4.0?

Bangladesh is now under the challenge of the 21st century’s global business environment especially in the arena of ready-made garment (RMG) sectors. It is a matter of great pleasure that more than 82% (Including Woven & Knitwear) of the country’s export is from RMG sector.

Although Bangladesh is a land of agriculture, the RMG sector is the main driver of the national economy now. After the independence in 1971, Bangladesh was one of the poorest countries in the world. No major industries were developed at that time.

Figure 2: Stages of Industrial Revolution (Past, Present & Future)

It was a big challenge for Bangladesh for rebuilding the war-ravaged country with limited resources. Statistically, it was found that in the year 1983-84, the number of garment factory was 384 and in the year 2012-2013, the number of garment industry found increased up to 6.0 Thousand. Within 30 years, the garment factory increased l6 times but in the year 2020, the statistics in this regard are 4.62 thousand i.e., the number of garments decreased 23% within seven (07) years.

Figure 3: The four industrial revolutions.

As per the BTMA source, presently there are only 433 (Four hundred and Thirty-Three) Spinning Mills in Bangladesh. In the year 2006, the number of spinning industries was 260 i.e., within 14 years the number of spinning industries increases 66.5%. This figure seems to be good and the below graph (Graph 1) indicating good growth in terms of the number of Spinning Industry.

This growth is positively contributing to the country’s RMG export. Spinning Mills is one of the backward linkage industries which need to be modernized with innovative technologies that are the requirement and challenges for Bangladesh.

Once we thought quality first, think quantity latter but presently we should think both Quantity and Quality simultaneously. Here, the quantity is for supporting countries RMG export and Quality is for facing upcoming tremendous challenges that waiting for us.

Graph 1: Spinning factories growth rate in Bangladesh. Source: BTMA

We are talking about Industry 4.0 for the Spinning sectors whereas technologically the spinning industries of Bangladesh remain almost backward except with very few industries in Bangladesh. We know that time and tide wait for none and in the same style, the industrial revolutions are going on worldwide ceaselessly.

A sudden blow of COVID-19 temporarily hampers the journey of Industrial revolutions but it would be continued.  It is to be noted that Industry 6.0 is going to be knocked at the door even we are not prepared for Industry 4.0 and we are worried and this is the question of the survival of the fittest.

Figure 4: Typical Model of the Four Industrial Revolution

Typical Discussion and Recommendation: The writer tries to uphold some points that may be helpful for a look into the actual scenario of the topics as follows:

  • The industrialist should think for set up a new Spinning industry with highly sophisticated machines with a robotics system. This will save time ultimately reduce the lead time in apparel shipment. Bangladesh Government should provide strategic support to the entrepreneur for setting up a new spinning industry.
  • We know that it is very difficult to do conversion of the old conventional spinning system into modern machinery with the latest innovative technology. In this situation, all old conventional Spinning industries should be under “BMR” (Balancing, Modernization, and Replacement). Bangladesh Government should take initiative to support industrialists in this regard. Rapid modernization is possible for spinning sectors by adopting this policy.
  • Concerning the customer’s perspective, the spinning industry has. no any direct Foreign buyers/visitors. 100% export-oriented spinning industry sales yarn to the subsequent processes like weaving or Knitting industry of both local and 100% export-oriented. Due to the lacking of Visitors, the spinning industry is not maintaining proper housekeeping that may cause to produce faulty yarns with contamination. This situation can be overcome by achieving ISO 9002 certification and accreditation. The auto system would work. Forming a neutral Quality management team may be an alternative option. Their reporting boss should be one of the board members.
  • Most of the raw materials of the spinning industry are cotton and these are imported.  The price is also high. For minimizing cost, a huge scope of R&D activities is open by utilizing the proper blending & mixing strategy of various types of cotton (Pima, CIS, Australian, etc.). The Industry Quality Assurance Team is responsible to conduct such experiments. The industry owners can encourage or give chance to the University students to carry out research activities. In this way, the technology-based research will help to cope up with Industry 4.0
  • Most of the rich industrialists of Bangladesh are not interested in set up a backward linkage spinning industry. Out of many reasons, two are the mains: one is the fear of huge investment cost and the other is to make profit in the shortest possible manners I mean to set up a garment industry instead of spinning industry. This mentality should be changed for the greater interest of the country’s economy and survival.
  • Every Spinning industry must have a well-organized spinning laboratory that should be equipped with state-of-the-art lab and quality control mechanisms such as USTER AFIS PRO 2, USTER HVI 1000 (Raw cotton Analysis), USTER TESTER 6 (Sliver, Roving, Yarn Analysis), USTER TENSOJET 5, USTER TENSORAPID 5 (Single Yarn Strength Analysis), USTER CLASSIMAT 5 (Winding fault Analysis), USTER AUTOSORTER 6 (Yarn Count measuring). Besides these, USTER Company developed many sophisticated quality monitoring devices in Quality Management, process control, Fabric Inspection, etc. that can monitor the whole mill in an effective manner.
  • Spinning industry needs to go for diversified products to keep its existence in the international market. Diversified yarn products can feed to the diversified RMG products. It is good news that some industry owners in these sectors are planning to invest in synthetic yarn as its demand worldwide is increasing.
  • To make Smart Factory as per Industry 4.0, educational institutions can play an important role. Both Public and private university authority should review their existing course curriculum. These can be done by knowledge sharing through joint discussion with the University Teachers and Industry experts.
  • The upward trend of Indian yarn prices is another issue. This is due to the capacity imbalance and shortage of yarn production in India. Due to the lockdown issue caused by covid-19, sufficient manpower was not available. India is facing a shortage of yarn even to meet their demand domestically. They are getting huge orders from Bangladesh and Vietnam. Higher demand and lower supply cause the higher yarn price in India.  As an example, the price per kg of combed cotton yarn of 30’s count was $2.81, $2.88, $3.21, $3.31 & $3.55 in September, October, November, and December last year 2020, and January 2021 respectively (Source: Fiber2Fashion). The yarn price increased not only in India but also in the global market due to pandemic issues. This phenomenon indicating that the Bangladesh Spinning sector is not ready for facing the Industry 4.0 revolution.
Figure 5: Yarn Price Trend in India.

Industry 4.0 is a concern for all types industry like Spinning, Knitting, Weaving, Dyeing, Finishing, Apparel Industry, etc. As our topics cover the Spinning sectors only, I tried to discuss the issues related to spinning sectors. I tried to convey the message to the honorable Industry Owners, entrepreneurs, Officials, spinners to realize the scenario and challenges associated with the ongoing industrial revolutions.

Side by side concentrating on the machinery with innovative technology, and Organizational change is required. It is a regular phenomenon that most people are interested in works in the same pattern the way they are doing for a long time.

The people tend to resist any change. I can say, it is not their fault. It is our responsibility to make them understand the positive impact of organizational change. Good industry leaders are required those can plan, handle, manage any issues strategically not arbitrarily.

The people have a fear in their mind that after adaptation to innovative technology and robotic systems in the industry, they may lose job keeping in mind that they are going to be replaced by machines and upgraded technology. However, we are hopeful for a better Bangladesh, a better World.

Figure 6: Engr. Kazi Md. Elias, CText FTI.

Let us habituate the concept of Industry 4.0 among ourselves by defining it as “A name for the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, including cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing and cognitive computing and creating the smart factory” or Industry 4.0 compliant industry.


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