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Prospects of Industry 4.0 in Bangladesh textile and apparel industry

The Textile Engineering Division of the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB) organized a seminar on ‘Industry 4.0 in Textile & RMG sector of Bangladesh – Benefits, Challenges & Recommendations’ on 11 December 2021 at the Council Hall of IEB Headquarters. M. A. Mannan, Minister of Planning of Bangladesh was the Chief Guest of the seminar. Engr. Md. Abdus Sabur Science and Technology Affairs Secretary, Bangladesh Awami League and former president of IEB was3 guest of honor of the seminar. Engr. Md. Mozaffar Hossain, MP and President of BETEA, Engr. Md. Nurul Huda, President of IEB; Engr. Md. Nuruzzaman, Vice President of IEB (Human Resources Development); Engr. S.M. Sirajul Islam, Ex-Chairman, TED, IEB, and Engr. Abdus Sobhan CIP, Managing Director. Auko-Tex Group were the special guest of the seminar.

Figure 1: The Department of Textile Engineering of the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB) organized a seminar on ‘Industry 4.0 in Textile & RMG sector of Bangladesh – Benefits, Challenges & Recommendations.’

Prof. Dr. Engr. Ayub Nabi Khan currently holds the position of Pro-Vice-Chancellor of BUFT was the keynote speaker of the seminar.

The seminar highlighted the adaption of Industry 4.0 to the textile and RMG industry in Bangladesh and the challenges of Industry 4.0 and the proposed solutions to overcome these challenges.

Engr. Ayub Nabi said that the global textile and garment market is becoming more competitive. Buyers are looking for more quality and cheaper cost products. However, Bangladesh’s textile and RMG industry still have huge potential to capture the global textile and garments market.

The global textile and garments industry is now worth about $ 3 trillion. Bangladesh’s textile and RMG industries contribute only 6-7% of the total market. Bangladesh export 7-8 types of garments items. Whereas, Bangladesh can diversify to functional textiles, medical textiles, protective textiles.

Figure 2: Product’s share of global textile and garment industry.

Engr. Ayub Nabi urged that the textile and RMG industries of Bangladesh could occupy this huge market with Industry 4.0 and its advantages. Industry 4.0 could increase Bangladesh’s competitiveness with digitization and globalization.

The technology can give the buyer a transparent view about the quality of the product.  Furthermore, Industry 4.0 can reduce costs by eliminating hidden costs, waste and damage. The complexity of the Industry 4.0 can create indexing technologies with cyber physical systems and sub-nanotechnology.

Figure 3: Industry 4.0: Why we need it?

Companies around the world are already preparing for Textile 4.0. Hugo Boss is one of the pioneers of Textile 4.0. Hugo Boss aims to run a complete factory as a “Suit Machine” with areas of focus including robotics, artificial intelligence, data collection. It is investing heavily in robotics and automation of processes to create a digital twin to its advantage. Robot that can predict maintenance collects data from human requirements, schedule line machines and components, etc. Lectra increased their overall production by 3-2% with Industry 4.0.

Bangladesh’s textile industry also applies Industry 4.0 to particular sections or operations. Engr. Md.waliul Islam Swapon, Convenor of IEB and AGM of Mondol Group said, “Mondol Group has implemented Industry 4.0 in their cutting section and halved the workforce in the cutting section.”

Figure 4: Prof. Dr. Engr. Ayub Nabi Khan currently holds the position of Pro-Vice-Chancellor of BUFT was the keynote speaker of the seminar.

Bangladesh textile and garment can implement new technology step by step to see its benefits in particular sections. Engr. Md. Mozaffar Hossain said, “In order to be competitive in the market, the industry should move to industry 4.0 in all its section.”

However, Engr. Abdus Sobhan said, “New update means new risks and liabilities so Industry 4.0 will give new challenges to the textile industry.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, based on the use of cyber-physical systems. Industry 4.0 means digitization, disruptive innovation, automation and interconnection, AI and robotic, increasing organizational complexity in manufacturing systems. Industry 4.0 relies on 9 Pillars of technological advancement.

Figure 5: 9 Technology pillars of Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 has emerged with technology (augmented reality, cyber, loT, Big Data Analytics, etc.). Supporting a new revolution will require a multi-disciplinary role and responsibility. The manufacturing sector is more vulnerable to attacks with interconnection through cyber-physical systems. More white hackers are needed to develop a full-proof security system as attackers continue to search for loopholes.

Combining old and new systems, techniques, equipment, protocols with complex protocols will be complicated. The integration of traditional IT infrastructure with the new IoT system integration requires extensive restructuring and retraining of the workforce. Digitization of manufacturing technology will require new incentives. Manufacturers need government policy support on loans and taxation.

Figure 6: Key Challenges of Industry 4.0.

Most Bangladeshi technicians and staff lack the skills and knowledge of professionals and Industry 4.0. Technicians worry they can’t master new technology, lack the motivation to study new things. Physical or manual labor worries they will lose their jobs.

However, the decision is always taken at the top. Managerial approach is essential for creating new business models. From a firm perspective, these actions are necessary for the establishment of Industry 4.0:

  • Proactive in experiments with technology through pilots
  • Gradually upgrading information technologies and systems
  • Develop a talented workforce through proper training
  • Collaboration and Integration

Bangladesh lacks local expertise to create and deliver a new training program. Research and development related to industry 4.0, security policy requires integrated systems, legal framework conditions, work, training, and more education. Engr. Ayub Nabi urged the government to establish a research center for the textile and garment industry.

Table: Proportion of Bangladesh Textile and garment has research facilities:
Industry Percentage of research facilities
Spinning 3%
Knitting 1%
Dye House 3%
RMG Units 3%

M. A. Mannan, Minister of parliament assured to establish a research center for the textile and garment industry.

A proper ecosystem is needed for research & development and technology transfer. Thus, manufacturers can develop their own brand, becoming original design manufacturers (ODMs) instead of just functioning as a subcontractor.

M. A. Mannan said, “Bangladesh has talented textile engineers who can create a road map towards Industry 4.0.”

Engr. Md. Mozaffar Hossain said that textile cadres are needed in the public sector to give proper respect to the textile engineers who are responsible country’s largest export. Also, a high-level nationwide Industry 4.0 framework and review panel is required for Bangladesh.

Engr. Md. Masudur Rahman, Chairman, Engr. Md. Ashad Hossain, Vice Chairman Engr. Md. Shahadat Hossain, General Secretary of IEB were also present at the seminar. Engr. Syed Atiqur Rahman secretary of IEB moderated the seminar.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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