It is obvious that Industry 4.0 has affected and even changed many sectors from automotive to construction in recent years. This effect is seen more especially in companies that make production based on labor force. Labor-based production can no longer meet the needs and offer competitive advantage.
The increase in the use of labor force increases the total cost, triggering the intensive use of labor force, which increases both the occupational health and safety risks and the error rate in production. The situation does not change in the case of the textile sector, in fact, the increasing dominant role of customers in recent years, in addition to the intensive use of labor force, necessitates the reorganization of the production processes.
Instead of buying standard products, customers now prefer personalized or customized products that meet their individual needs more. For these reasons, companies operating in the textile sector need to update their production processes in order to meet customer demands. In this period of change, Industry 4.0 and related core technologies will play an important role in improving textile value chains and textile production systems.
How Industry 4.0 can be applied in the textile industry
Today, industrial production is undergoing a radical transformation. It is about a vision where the physical world of industrial production merges with the digital world of information technology – in other words, the creation of a digitized and interconnected industrial production.
In the future, interconnected supply chains and digitized industrial production processes will connect workers, machine components, materials, objects to be manufactured and even logistics through continuous data exchange. A digital identity will be given to machines and objects, and with the help of sensors and actuators, machines will be given the ability to communicate and inform. Thus, while the object to be produced follows the algorithmically determined optimal path throughout the manufacturing system, in case of a malfunction, the machines will be able to determine an alternative path by cooperating with each other without stopping production.
After the organizations fulfill the necessary prerequisites, they can achieve remarkable success in this field by implementing the main Industry 4.0 applications in the textile field. These applications can be listed as follows.
Machine tracking in real time
The data obtained with the Internet of Things can be transferred to smart mobile phones, tablets and laptop computers in the form of meaningful graphics with an integrated information technology infrastructure. With the help of these data, the production line is kept under control from end to end. While operators and maintenance specialists monitor the functionality of the machines, project teams compare this data with planning data and evaluate the performance of the factory against production plans. Thus, necessary corrections are made and optimization is achieved in the process.
Real-time efficiency calculations
Even if most of the organizations collect production data, they cannot make sense of it because they do not use this data effectively. With the instant transfer and processing of all the data obtained from the factories, the production performance can be monitored in real time and the deviations in the plan can be determined immediately and necessary measures can be taken.
Employee tracking and business optimization
With the personnel location information obtained periodically in factories, the areas that slow down production can be determined by calculating the time spent at the workbenches or at the desk. The time spent in processes such as data entry, placing the raw material in the machine, installation of the machines, production and quality control, which is usually performed by the blue collar, is measured and the areas that can be corrected can be determined.
Early error detection
The situation at every stage of production is compared with the situation predicted in its digital twin and deviations are determined instantly. Likewise, the results of a problem arising from the production line can be predicted by simulating on the digital twin, and a re-evaluation can be made by reviewing the production plans. One of the most important advantages of Industry 4.0 is to be able to obtain information about production in advance by creating a digital twin and to be able to intervene before any errors occur.
Faster delivery times and transparency in processes
The locations of raw materials, intermediates and finished products can be tracked throughout processes in a digital shipping system with methods such as RFID and barcodes. It is also possible to optimize the routes to be followed by the delivery vehicles and to make a planning for the future shipments by following the maintenance of the vehicles. By determining the time spent in all stages of the supply chain, studies can be carried out to reduce the times. Real-time monitoring of the processes from the very beginning of the supply chain to reaching the customer ensures that the process is supervised and improved by the organization, while customers can follow the products they order in a transparent manner.
With technology solutions, it is possible to establish a connection between consumers and the production line and to customize products in accordance with the demands of consumers. However, the rapid production of special designs in production facilities and sending them to customers can only be achieved with a dynamically managed planning environment. In addition, sharing the designed product with the customer through augmented reality before starting production will increase customer satisfaction.