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Skill sets required in textile industries for industry 4.0


Modernization of technology would necessitate more technical skills for operators in the production and maintenance functions across the value chain of the textile industry. The sector also needs multi-tasking/multi-skilling at the operator level.

The human resource at higher levels as well as in other functions like procurement would need to possess the knowledge of various types of machines and also keep abreast of the changes in technology. Globalization is a process that has continuity, even though interrupted sometimes. Globalization has no loyalty to anything and this is its most prominent feature of globalization.

It tries to create new paradigms according to new conditions of ages. Globalization can easily adapt to new situations. The fourth industrial revolution will begin in a very short time and will lead to a change in the industrial, social and economic lives of people. This may create new industrial relations between capital and labor.

The most important components of the fourth industrial revolution are smart factories, e-production applications and interaction between smart systems for excellent production processes. This paper focuses on changing skill requirements in the production process of yarn manufacturing to meet Industry 4.0.

Keywords: Fourth industrial revolution, textile industries-applications, Internet of Things (IoT).


Industry 4.0

The term Industry 4.0 is used to define a set of technology transformations in systems and product design, production and distribution and to describe the production process organization that are based on communicating technologies and devices.

The industrial production has no longer to be considered as a sequence of separated phases, but as an integrated flow, that is made possible by digital technologies. The traditional textile industry has always been labor-intensive and highly polluting. 1.

In the past, the textile industry production process was very complicated. Many detailed actions needed to be executed; this caused a production trend of large volume but less variety 2.

Now people are paying more attention to product quality and unique requirements due to technology and people’s living habits change. As a result, the manufacturing industry has moved toward customized production. 3, 4

Technology has also been strengthened in response to such changes. Recently, many manufacturers have been influenced by Industry 4.0. They are not only optimizing the manufacturing processes but also effectively controlling industrial pollution with the assistance of data maintenance and monitoring 5, 6

The 5 pillars of Industry 4.0 are:

  • Speed: To reduce the time to market through innovation cycles and short product development
  • Quality: To improve the processes and to reduce the waste through the real-time monitoring of the production
  • Flexibility: To make the offer more dynamic through the mass-customization in the production phases
  • Security: To optimize the security issues in order to avoid inactivity periods and cyber attacks
  • Efficiency: To increase productivity with technologies and more intelligent services

Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things (IoT) can be defined as communication among devices, machines, and equipment with their virtual personalities and capabilities obtained as a result of technological advances.

These physical systems have become smart and can automatically conduct some industrial operations as a result of these connections. To start or stop industrial and logistics operations may be possible by the connection between these devices and machines without human force or decision-making process.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a process that starts with the emergence of various defined conditions or movements.

All data related to movement and situations are detected by sensors and are automatically sent to the system for data processing. Previously, all conditions have been described in the system numerically by operators 7

Figure 1: Integration among the value chain process and IoT.

Textile and clothing industry

With the use of advanced technology, many independent manufacturing processes and logistics operations will have completely integrated with each other when factories become smarter. Firstly, RFID tags should be embedded in products or packing of the products.

For this, various elements as containers, bobbins, and clothes hangers may be used. RFID tags embedded in products may store a lot of information related to products, manufacturing processes, and logistics operations.

This information can be collected by sensors placed on the machine or anywhere after reading. When the RFID tags embedded in materials are read by the sensor, it sends this information to machines as a command.

Figure 2: Schematic diagram of information transformation in textile 4.0.

In this way, machines can fulfill the functions expected from them automatically. Technologic applications are not only used in manufacturing activities but also may help to create the optimal material flow system from the supplier to the consumer. Hence, their scope is much wider.

When the last operation related to manufacturing activities is finished, sensors may send this information to conveyors as a command for the products to be carried to the shipping point. After the product comes to this point, it is scanned by another sensor.

Real-time information related to shipment is sent to the transportation unit such as trucks, ships, rail wagons or cargo planes.

In this way, the preparation process relating the physical transportation operation can be completed before the final product output operations. Manufacturing and logistics operations in the value chain could be self-optimized.

More importantly, the self-configuration of these processes in accordance with variable conditions is possible, thanks to these technological systems. As a result, companies can respond to customer demands more easily and flexibly.8

Key technologies of automation in spinning, weaving and other aspects are essential to upgrade the textile industry. Textile 4.0 would be a process chain of independent production. 9 (Fig. 2) Information carrier can be a textile material container, bobbin, warp beam, and fabric.

Radiofrequency identification technology (RFID)10 and sensors are basic to collect and store information, such as equipment operation status, and maintenance information.

The plant will self-configure and self-optimize11 (Fig. 3) quickly and flexibly to meet custom manufacturing orders. Meanwhile, all information will be fed back to the MES and ERP systems for future management decisions.

Figure 3: Self-optimizing of the weaving process.

Textile machinery 4.0

An intelligence analysis highlighted the future perspective for the textile machinery industry, underlining a possible roadmap for the implementation of the enabling technologies of the Industry 4.0 in each of the productive processes’ three phases shown in Fig 4

The first actions needed in order to achieve the objective of being a 4.0 textile machinery enterprise are the implementation of communicating embedded technologies and, more important, the application of the Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm in the industrial production, the network of people, products and machines and the employment of automation systems for the production control and management.

Figure 4: Schematic diagram of textile machinery 4.0.

Skill related challenges companies will face with industry 4.0

With the advent of Industry 4.0, the companies will not only face challenges in finding the skilled employees but also a few other challenges related to their existing workforce and skill development programs as mentioned below:

Up-skilling: Companies will have to up-skill their workforce via in-house or external training centers. For example, an assembly line worker involved in manually fitting a part will be required to operate a robot or other tools to do so. He/she should develop the skills to be able to operate the new tools efficiently.

Re-skilling: Industry 4.0 is expected to result in job displacement to a certain extent. A number of jobs will cease to exist. And a number of new jobs will be created. Companies will have to make the investment in the re-skilling of the labor force to prepare for this expected shift.

Continuous learning: Technologies will become obsolete at a faster rate. Continuous professional development strategies will be required to easily adapt to the changes that technological advancement brings.

Mindset change: Given that the labor force will have to adapt to a number of changes, they will resist and oppose the implementation of newer technologies. This will require companies to plan for mindset change of its employees to facilitate a smooth transition to advanced manufacturing processes.8, 9

Important qualifications and skills to have for Industry 4.0

  1. Knowledge about ICT
  2. Basic information technology knowledge
  3. Ability to use and interact with computers and smart machines like robots, tablets, etc.
  • Understanding machine to machine communication, IT security and data protection
  1. Ability to work with data
  2. Ability to process and analyze data and information obtained from machines
  3. Understanding visual data output and making decisions
  • Basic statistical knowledge
  1. Technical know-how     
  2. Inter-disciplinary and generic knowledge about technology
  3. Specialized knowledge about manufacturing activities and processes in place
  • Technical know-how of machines to carry out maintenance-related activities
  1. Personal skills
  2. Adaptability and ability to change
  3. Decision making
  • Working in a team
  1. Communication skills
  2. Mindset change for lifelong learning 10


Textile and clothing industries should be aware of the new paradigms on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution. In the coming years, becoming a smart factory will be one way to meet customer requirements as a result of the extremely variable market conditions.

In this way, textile industry can solve its structural problems arising from intensive labor use, energy costs, and market uncertainties. At the same time, they can increase the efficiency and productivity in the production processes, and logistics operations can be carried out at high levels of performance.

The boom of global ‘re-industrialization’ would make manufacturing more intensely competitive and the traditional model is substituted for an emerging model, which could be called the integration of industrial chain better than an industrial revolution, and all participants in the production process collaborate production in a new way.

The textile industry must be aware of the new challenges and respond with judicious action in order to reduce the production cost, improve manufacturing productivity, promote industrial growth, change the labor force structure and ultimately change the competitiveness of the company and the region.

Technological innovation and personnel are basic drives of industry transformation. The modern machinery would require skilled people who have the requisite knowledge of the same.


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  8. M. Rüßmann, M. Lorenz, P. Gerbert, M. Waldner, J. Justus, P. Engel, and M. Harnisch. (April 2015). Industry 4.0: Future of Productivity. Boston Consulting Group‟s BCG Perspectives. pp. 21. [Online]. Available:http://www.bcg.com.cn/export/sites/default/en/files/publications/repo rts_pdf/BCG_Industry_40_Future_of_Productivity_April_2015_ENG .pdf
  9. Saggiomo M, Wischnowski M, Winkel B, et al. Industry 4.0 in the field of textile machinery-first steps of implementation[J]. Melliand International, 2015, (1).
  10. Hameed B, Durr F, Rothermel K. RFID based Complex Event Processing in a Smart Real-Time Factory[J]. Expert discussion: Distributed Systems in Smart Spaces, 2011.
  11. Gloy Y S, Sandjaja F, Gries T. Model-based self-optimization of the weaving process[J]. Cirp Journal of Manufacturing Science & Technology, 2015, 9: 88–96.
  12. http://www.nsdcindia.org
  13. http://www.bcg.com.cn.
  14. http://www.globalskillsummit.com/whitepaper-summary.pdf
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