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Sustainable production strategies for spinning mills


Spinning is a vital operation process in the textile sector. It is the primary industry supporting yarn to the export market. Usually, it requires massive investment and labor employment. Public awareness and the growing perception of the environment have forced the textile industry to produce environmentally friendly products.

Figure 1: Continuous improvement in productivity level, quality, utilization and yarn realization is very important for efficient working of operations. 

For this reason, nowadays many companies and organizations focus on the environmentally friendly way of production. To create a sustainable textile, the main change factors have been linked to eco-materials so less and harmless waste, reusing/recycling, lesser usage of energy, water and chemicals and ethical issues in production processes. This article emphasizes the environmental effects of textiles in detail and contributes to cleaner production and sustainability in the textile spinning industry.

Keywords: cleaner production, environmentally friendly, sustainability, Spinning Mills.

1.0       Introduction

Spinning is a vital operation process that consumes more power and massive investment. Unlike other industrial segments, spinning mills are a big concern due to the moderate net profit of 5%. The primary export of yarn to neighboring countries has seamlessly reduced profitability in recent times. The price determination of world cotton is dependent on cotton sourcing whereby the type of single dependency occurs for a secured source, and it seems a big threat for the spinning sector.

It must reassure the diversified source and sustainable robust growth to avoid the direct collapse of the total textile supply chain if it lacks the above sources. Such a competitive price and so challenges increase in the mills to produce quality yarn using average cotton. Perhaps finding out the cotton import arena and their capacity utilization can bring a great deal of success.

Despite that, inadequate gas supply due to the unavailability of gas mills or captive generators, production cost per unit and the cost for alternative sources of power are driving up even higher. Originally, sustainable business relies on the increase in profitability concerning quality tasks, consistency, and fast supply of products.

Spinning is a vital operation process that consumes more power and massive investment. Unlike other industrial segments, spinning mills are a big concern due to the moderate net profit of 5%.

The extraordinary expansion of the global economy in recent years has also caused the explosion in consumption. While some of this growth in consumption is necessary for people to continue their lives, the rest is not. Like richness, consumption is also showing uneven distribution. Even though consumption of per person has risen in large areas of the world, these increases are not the same for everybody, and the differences between the increases are huge.

Today, the expenditures of 100 million people living in industrially developed regions correspond to the consumption of more than one billion people living in underdeveloped regions of the world, just to meet fundamental requirements. This case is problematic because it has two contradictory appearances and both of them put great pressure on the global environment.[1]

Advanced production technologies, which are used to meet increased consumer demands, have also made production activities important to the global environment. The developing technology brought about the problems like pollution of the environment, air, and water, thinning of the ozone layer, a decrease of green areas. In response, however, public opinion has emerged, especially in developed countries that are sensitive to these problems. New precautions have begun to be considered both to maintain industrialization and to protect the environment.

It has been shown that cleaning up after the pollution is more costly than cleaning up before the pollution, and it is not possible to restore the degraded ecological balance after pollution.[2] Along with the technological developments in recent years, developments in the textile sector as well as in many sectors have played a major role in the increase of environmental problems.

The main environmental impact in the textile industry is manifested by the discharge of high amounts of chemical loads into the receiving environment. Other important elements are high chemical and water use, energy consumption, air pollution, solid waste and odor formation. Environmental issues related to the textile and garment sector; it starts with drugs that are used in the cultivation of natural fibers and the emissions in the production of synthetic fibers.

From this moment on, a series of processes are being carried out in which thousands of different chemicals, tons of water and a considerable amount of energy are used to treat the fibers to reach the final textile product. In this review study, the environmental problems that textile has emerged have been examined and it has been explained that solutions for the problems can be made within the scope of sustainability and cleaner production.

The concept of cleaner production has also been discussed in detail and the relationship with sustainability has been put forward.[3]

Following steps to be followed for the betterment of spinning processes

1.1       Process optimization

Continuous improvement in productivity level, quality, utilization and yarn realization is very important for efficient working of operations. Optimization of the process can be done after a proper analysis of processes. Due to poor process engineering at preparatory processes and adverse conditions of humidification plant, to be imparted in ring frame for better working performance. Step by step action plan is required for the optimization of processes from blowroom to ring frame.

Machine and process settings are required to be fine-tuned, to match with required quality level with controlled wastage. Technology like roving individual monitoring system helps in controlling waste level in terms of less fly generation and less pneumafil waste.

1.2.      Technological up-gradation

Rapid improvement has been done by textile machine manufacturers to simplify the work practices and to achieve a higher productivity level. Few technologies can also be implemented in old machinery as well. The selection of the right technology for the product is very essential to gain maximum output. Up-gradation in technology helps in reducing manpower, increase productivity, lower power consumption, and lesser maintenance cost, etc.

Manufacturing of special yarn requires retrofit arrangement, additional attachment, sourcing of material, etc. which needs proper planning and execution. With the help of upgraded technology, the new product can be efficiently manufactured on old machinery as well.

1.3.      System and processes

Extensive labor is involved in different processes of textile industries. Developing a system and follow them perfectly is the biggest task. Many industries are following traditional systems over the years and struggles to retain them. Standard operating procedures (SOP) must be followed regularly in such a manner to maintain productivity and make processes more efficient.

Regular monitoring of current processes and establishing new systems as per the current requirement is very essential to seal the gap. Bypassing of systems and rules create hurdle in maintaining standardization of the process. Time to time audits can help in cross-checking systems and processes.

1.4.      Power saving

Many steps can be initiated for improving power costs by smart engineering. Based on the analysis of individual machinery or plants, corrective actions can be initiated to improve power consumption. Highly efficient bearings with suitable grease used for the smooth running of shafts to reduce the load on motors.

Timing belts, Servo drive or Variable frequency drive, modified circuits, etc. have been developed and successfully implemented in the spinning industry to reduce power consumption. Humidification plant also contains a large scope of improvement by regular checking of compressed air pipeline, supply air and return air maintenance.

Corrective actions can be initiated after identifying the area of scope. Further, the power cost factor has been taken into consideration and the mechanical mechanism has been modified with electronic & electrical systems controlled by the Programmable logic controller (PLC) for new machines. The scope of power-saving increased drastically with the latest technology. Machine manufacturers are also providing separate kits for power saving purposes.

1.5.      Information technology focus

A centralized data monitoring system not only helps in making a database of the processes, but it also helps in achieving higher efficiency and improved quality of production by regular tracing. Management Information System (MIS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) are a widely used monitoring system for spinning industries.

Data monitoring at regular intervals helps in quick identification of trouble creating part and rectify the same at the earliest. More data collection helps management in decision making for continuous improvement and value addition.

1.6.      Skill development

Right skills for the right operations are very essential for the effective utilization of manpower. Sorting in maxing, sliver and waste handling in preparatory, cleaning of machines, and creeling of material in different stages, piecing in ring spinning, gaiting and doffing in ring frame. These types of practices must be trained to workers for better handling of machine operations and functions.

Classroom training and field training of workers to enhance the skill level of the operators. Do’s and Don’ts must be trained to workers for reducing human errors. Achieving Operational Excellence in the textile industry has become imperative to sustain the growth India has achieved. It is a path in which organizations continually develop and evolve to deliver extraordinary performance in its operations and management thus leading it on a path to success.

2.0       Cleaner production

The concept of “cleaner production”, which is often used, has evolved into the concept of “sustainable production” in the last 10 years to prevent possible future bigger catastrophes. Sustainable production has become widespread with the cleaner production concept used by many organizations.

Cleaner production has been applied as for production processes; protection of raw materials and energy, removal of poisonous substances and accordingly abatement of toxic emissions and waste of products, for products; preventing or reducing the adverse effects of a product throughout the life cycle, for services; including environmental anxiety to design and distribution services. In summary, cleaner production; continuous implementation of an environmental protection strategy integrated with processes, products, and services.[4]

Cleaner production applications can be classified into three main categories:

  • Reduction of waste and reduction of resource consumption,
  • Reuse and/or recycling,
  • Product modifications.

2.1.1    Practices for waste reduction

Administrative preventions

 It is one of the simplest methods of cleaner production and it is not costly because there is no investment and it can be put into practice immediately after determining the possibilities. Examples are the prevention of water, energy and other source losses such as keeping the water vents closed, optimizing chemical dosing, wasting equipment, etc. Moreover, focusing on the management and training of employees can also be done under this heading.

Better process control

 Within this heading; temperature, time, pressure, pH, process speed, etc. are to be checked to see if they are optimum in terms of welding consumables, production, and waste production, and to make appropriate changes if necessary. This part requires more complex monitoring and management than administrative measures.

Material substitution

 This means that the productivity of the production is increased by the use of higher quality material without compromising quality and cost. Also, material substitution means replacing existing materials with some more environmentally friendly materials. For example, replacing a hazardous chemical with an environmentally friendly one means that the purification requirements and costs that would be caused by the hazardous chemical substance are either eliminating or falling.

Equipment modification

 Equipment modification is the development of present equipment to produce less waste and to ensure more efficient production processes. Examples include setting engine speeds, optimizing tank volumes, isolation of hot pipes, and so on.

New process technology

 Because this method involves the use of more modern and efficient technologies, it requires a higher initial investment cost than other methods. However, with the developments of quality and save the investment can be repaid in a very short-dated and with this application the company can more easily switch to more up-to-date and modern production processes. Such applications also provide improvements in product and production quality.

2.1.2    Reuse/recycling

 Reusing rinse water from one process to another cleaning process is an example of on-site recycling or reuse. It involves collecting waste and reusing it in the same or different parts of the production. Non-preventable wastes can be recycled or vend as an offshoot. This includes the creation of by-products, the sale of waste to consumers, or other firms after the collection of waste. For example; waste yeast, which is released in the brewery, can be reused as animal feed, fish production and food additive substance.

2.1.3    Product modification

 One of the basic headings of cleaner production to reduce the pollution caused by-products is to change product characteristics. Changing the product requires that the product and its requirements be reviewed again. Reducing the weight and the thickness of the products, designing that allows the product to be more easily recycled, changing the packaging are examples of this approach. The main point of view in the change of packaging is that the protection of the product is guaranteed by the minimum amount of packaging material.

3.0       Tools and methods for cleaner production

The choice of which tools are used to determine the use of cleaner production opportunities according to their application areas depends on the problem in operation and the work to be done. Single or multiple tools can be used based on the nature of the problem.[5]

3.1       Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

 This is a procedure, which provides that environmental effects are taken into account before making decisions. EIA includes identification of the positive and negative effects of the planned projects on the environment, determination of the measures to be taken to forestall and decrease these negative effects, and monitoring the implementation of the projects.

3.2       Environmental Management System (EMS)

 It aims at the management of activities that are linked to each other, have an environmental impact or has potency. Phases of this system; environmental policy, planning, implementation and operation, control and correction process, management inspection. It provides a mechanism to firms for thinking about the environment, deciding what to do and planning how to do it, actually applying it, and correcting deviations in the plan.[6]

3.3       Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

It also named ‘life cycle analysis’, ‘life cycle approach’, ‘cradle to grave analysis’ or ‘eco-balance’, includes an assessment of aspects of a product system that are generally relevant to the environment at entire phases of its life cycle. In other sense, it is the cluster of means and methods that have emerged to aid in environmental management for sustainable development.

The LCA can be used to systematically analyze and to prevent/mitigate negative impacts on the environment caused by the goods and services from production to disposal, and to determine resources used throughout their life cycle and to improve opportunities.[7]

3.4       Environmental technology evaluation

 Environmental impact assessments of various plants and projects involve the discharge of the use of various technologies and the determination of the risks of these technologies on human health and environmental values ​​using qualitative and quantitative methods. In summary, it examines the effects of a specific technology on human health and natural systems and resources.

3.4.1    Chemical Evaluation

 In this context, the toxic effects and quantities of the chemical substances used in the production phase are analyzed to evaluate jeopardy on the health of humans and the environment. It also includes methodologies for hazard and exposure assessment.

3.4.2    Waste Inspection

Input/output inventories of processes, source, quality and quantity of wastes generated, efficiency and weak points of the current process, waste minimization targets for cleaner production are determined with waste control. Thus, losses are reduced/prevented to increase process efficiency.

3.4.3    Environmental Inspection

 It is the most commonly used and most important application tool for cleaner production. Its scopes to specify the quantity and character of the waste from the production process/services and to make decisions about what needs to be done to reduce the pollution. Because it is a very effective tool, there are types developed for different purposes such as waste, energy and risk monitoring.

3.4.4.   Eco-label/environmental labeling

 An eco-label indicates that a product or service is sensitive to the environment in a particular category. Ecolabelling is implemented worldwide and is a voluntary method for certificating environmental performance.

3.5       Industrial Symbiosis (IS)

The principle behind industrial symbiosis is quite simple; instead of being thrown away or destroyed, surplus resources generated by an industrial process are captured then redirected for use as a ‘new’ input into another process by one or more other companies, providing a mutual benefit or symbiosis.

Working together via industrial symbiosis, companies look for gaining competitive advantage through the barter of energy, materials, water, by-products, waste, or common usage of logistics, specialty, etc. In this way, they can increase operating efficiencies, save money, reduce their environmental impact, share knowledge, encourage eco-discovery and longtime culture alter.[8]

3.6       Water footprint

 For a single process or product, it measures the volume of clean water consumed and/or contaminated by humanity. It may also indicate how much water is consumed from a particular river basin or aquifer from globally/country.

3.7       Carbon footprint

The carbon footprint that comes to mind with the climate change problem is described as the sum amount of greenhouse gasses which spread by an institution, person, activity, or product. The carbon footprint is a measure of the exclusive total amount of carbon dioxide emissions that are directly and indirectly caused by an activity or is accumulated over the life stages of a product”.

CO2 equivalents or Global Warming Potential (GWP) was described as how many other greenhouse gasses have the same heat holding capacity in the atmosphere compared to the same amount of CO2 for a given period. With this unit, the effect of all greenhouse gasses can be collected and expressed in a common unit.[9]

3.8       Risk assessment

 The risks to be caused by a specific event on the sanitary of humans and the surrounding and the precautions to be taken about these risks are determined by this method.

Policy instruments applied to encourage cleaner production may include legal legislation, voluntary standards, economic instruments (taxes and penalties, state aid, financial mechanisms, etc.), information and technical assistance.

4.0       Sustainable strategies for cost-effective spinning

Spinning is a vital operation process in the textile sector. Usually, it requires massive investment. The sector is the primary industry supporting yarn to the export-oriented market. The following strategies are to be implemented for cost-effective spinning. [10]

4.1       Mixing quality and cost

Our spinning Mills are dependent on the natural raw material that has no consistent properties. To provide consistent quality with competitive price, efficient purchase of cotton and the right formulation of mixing is inevitable for us to meet up the required buyer’s demand. The application of modern technology and machinery for cotton evaluation can ensure the consistent quality of yarn.

Figure 2: Factors of Mixing Quality and Cost.

4.2       Energy cost optimization

Power or energy is the most critical cost factory in the spinning mills. With recent hikes in gas and power prices, the spinning mills are suffering for a productivity shortage. Increasing efficiency and eliminating wastage in a spinning mill is the key to remain competitive. In modern spinning mills, there is no scope to allow any energy loss.

Reduce, reuse and recycle should be the strategy not only in cases of materials like cotton and yarn but it should also be the approach of gas and power consumption as well. Almost 99% percent spinning industry is run by captive energy, which uses a gas-based generator that produces a huge amount of heat and affects the environment drastically when the heat is exhausted with the flue gas.

Factories that are enriched in technologies running their chillers using the flue gas of the captive power plants. Reusing the exhaust heat is reducing environmental impact and the chillers, on the other hand, improving the working conditions of the spinning floors. Right control of the humidity and temperature of the spinning floors increase productivity and quality.

Automation can change the whole scenario of the spinning sector in Bangladesh. Automation increases machine efficiency and productivity. Energy-efficient machinery and processes should be selected. Usually, Bangladesh spinning mills have state-of-the-art machinery. But still, some old units are having inefficient machinery, running such machinery in the modern age means increasing loss. Proper study is needed to replace them or to improve the energy efficiency of that machinery.

4.3       Product diversification

In spinning industries, not only produce cotton yarn, a lot of diversified yarn such as siro, mélange, spandex, core-spun, gray melange and inject yarns are being produced. Despite being less production rate of diversified yarn than cotton yarn, the profit margin is drastically high It is time for us to rethink our ability and focus on capacity utilization and diversified yarn production

4.4       Yarn quality improvement

Yarn quality requires improving further to keep pace with time. Buyers are becoming more conscious than before. Therefore, ensuring the desired quality with less price is the challenge of spinners. The cotton market is too volatile to get consistent quality cotton with competitive price and so challenges increases in the mills to produce quality yarn using average cotton.[11]

5.0       Conclusion

Sustainability is much more than a trending word at a certain time. The three key elements of sustainability are; economic and social development, environmental protection, and each one should be considered to the others. Sustainability is very crucial because it maintains people’s quality of life by protecting diversity and ecosystems in the world in various ways; protecting natural resources, providing energy savings, decreasing waste quantity, investment in the future and economy with recycling/reusing. Namely, it ensures the existence of species.

A contemporary and secure business environment is created by respecting human rights, securing social justice and protecting the working rights within the scope of sustainability. Cleaner production is not just a buzzword, but also one of the basic approaches to sustainability.

It is a systematic approach that involves identifying pollution-causing processes and technologies that lead to the inefficient utilization of energy and raw materials, revealing points that need improvement, and implementing cleaner production opportunities. The lifelong ecological impacts of textile products are affected by the raw materials, their origin and the durability of the product, in addition to the production methods. In this sense, the concept of sustainability has become a matter of concern in the textile spinning Mills.


As the author of this paper would like to thank the management of GRG Institutions for their continuous encouragement and motivation to do this kind of research. The author would express his gratitude to Dr. A. Sankarasubramaniam, Principal, GRG Polytechnic College for his continuous support to do this work.


  1. Fletcher K. Systems change for sustainability in textiles. Cambridge: Woodhead; 2009.
  2. Babu BR, Parande A, Raghu S, et al. Textile Technology An overview of wastes produced during Cotton Textile Processing and Effluent Treat¬ment Methods. The Journal of Cotton Science. 2007; 11:141‒153.
  3. Glavič P, Lukman R. Review of sustainability terms and their defini¬tions. Journal of Cleaner Production. 2007; 15:1875‒1885.
  4. Fresner J. Cleaner production as a means for effective environmental management. Journal of Cleaner Production. 1998; 6:171‒179.
  5. Moore SB, Wentz M. Eco-labeling for textiles and apparel. Woodhead Publishing; 2009.
  6. Jaganathan V, Cherurveettil P, Chellasamy A, et al. Environmental pollution risk analysis and management in textile industry: A preventive mechanism. European Scientific Journal. 2014; 2:480‒486.
  7. Chavan RB. Indian textile industry-environmental issues. Indian J Fibre & Textile Research. 2001;26(1‒2):11‒21.
  8. Kumari P, Singh SSJ, Rose NM. Eco-Textiles: For Sustainable Development. International J Scientific & Engineering Research. 2013;4(4):1379‒1390.
  9. Sharma S. Energy Management in Textile Industry. International J Power System Operation & Energy Management. 2012;2(1‒2):45‒49.
  10. Muthu SS, Li Y, Hu JY, et al. Carbon footprint reduction in the textile process chain: recycling of textile materials. Fibers Polym. 2012;13(8):1065‒1070.
  11. Shaikh MA.Water conservation in textile industry. Pakistan Textile Journal. 2009; 48‒51.
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