Industry 4.0 for Textile and Apparel Industry

Last Updated on 03/05/2021

Industry 4.0 for Textile and Apparel Industry

Bhavdip Paldiya
Director, Bansi Trade International, India


We’re in the midst of a significant transformation regarding the way we produce products thanks to the digitization of manufacturing. This transition is so compelling that it is being called Industry 4.0 to represent the fourth revolution that has occurred in manufacturing. From the first industrial revolution (mechanization through water and steam power) to the mass production and assembly lines using electricity in the second, the fourth industrial revolution will take what was started in the third with the adoption of computers and automation and enhance it with smart and autonomous systems fueled by data and machine learning.

industry 4.0 in apparel

Even though some dismiss Industry 4.0 as merely a marketing buzzword, shifts are happening in manufacturing that deserves our attention.

You’ve likely heard the term “Industry 4.0” being thrown around like confetti in the business world, but what exactly does it mean?

In this blog post, we’re going to break down the basics and demystify the term so you can participate in compelling water cooler conversation with confidence.

As Industry 4.0 continues to evolve and the fourth industrial revolution emerges, here are a few things you should know.

The textile and apparel industry which is one of the main sectors of the industrialization movement for developing countries, involves the use of fabric and materials to produce men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, knitted underwear and outerwear.

The First Industrial Revolution began with the discovery of the steam engine in England in 1712 and later spread to Europe and America. The first mechanical weaving loom was developed in 1785 by British inventor Edmund Cartwright. Progress in the textile sector during this revolution underlies the adoption of textile consumption as a basic need, as Maslow would later explain.

The Second Industrial Revolution started in 1870 when electricity began to be used in the industrial field. The serial production was first realized in 1910 by Henry Ford as part of the second industrial revolution. The impact of this revolution in the clothing and apparel sector is that the sewing machine began to be produced in a serial manner. Despite being discovered in the past, Isaac Singer patented the first sewing machine in 1851, and with this development, clothing production and consumption gained momentum. Later, sewing machines began to be used in other production areas such as shoes.

History of Industrial Revolution
Fig: History of Industrial Revolution

The Third Industrial Revolution, also called the Digital Revolution, began with the use of the first programmable management system in 1969. With this revolution, ICT has started to be used in the industry and the transition from analogue to digital technology has been achieved thanks to integrated systems obtained in the light of developments in microprocessors, software, fiber optic cables, and telecommunication domains.

After three important industrial revolutions, as mechanical, electrical, and digital revolution, the world is now witnessing the 4th industrial revolution that integrates emerging IT concepts, including Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), Internet of Things (IoT) and big data.

The latest industrial revolution is called “Industrie 4.0” in Germany, and “Industrial Internet of Things”(IIoT) in the United States. It is defined by Acatech as “the technical integration of CPS into manufacturing and logistics and the use of the Internet of Things and Services in industrial processes. This will have implications for value creation, business models, downstream services and work organization”.

Industrial Internet of Things

Industry 4.0: Control Systems and Cognitive Machines
The term “industry 4.0” stands for the fourth industrial revolution (after steam engine, mass production, and the introduction of electronics). It stands for the technical integration of so-called cyber-physical systems (CPS) into production and logistics, the use of the Internet in industrial processes, and the consequences this has for the value-added chain, new business models, and further processing and services. Such CPS are real-time sensors and actors that can also be operated via the Internet. The following topics are to be put into practice within industry 4.0:

  • ƒƒHorizontal integration along the value-added networks,
  • Digital permeability of engineering along the whole value-added chain, and
  • Vertical integration and cross-linked production systems.

In the textile industry, the main focus of these topics is on the design of flexible, autonomous textile process chains within companies or value-added networks. Modern textile machines have open interfaces, are highly flexible, and are able to adjust their status based on information provided by platforms. Textile semifinished products such as cans, bobbins, or warp beams carry the information for increased production flexibility (smart objects). By using the open interfaces of textile machines, new production planning systems for an integrative, self-optimizing process chain for multiscale and additive manufacturing of textile products can be designed.

On the process level, the machines are enabled to optimize themselves. They can then independently design process models and also determine an optimal working point under given boundary conditions. A typical example is the AUTOWARP concept developed at the Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University, Germany (see below figure). Here, wireless and web-enabled sensors are already being used for the control of processing parameters during air-jet weaving.

Autonomous textile process chain
Fig: Autonomous textile process chain

Man-machine interfaces do also undergo major changes. In the near future, operators will control the machines using smart personal devices such as tablet computers, smart phones, or even head-mounted displays. This will be accompanied by learning systems especially designed for operators, such as the weaver.

In apparel factories, production processes include cutting, sewing, buttoning, ironing, quality control, packaging, and shipment. The proposed innovative approaches for production are as follows:

apparel 4.0

Digital Information Transfer

  • Modelling/drawing the garment sketch in 3D format,
  • Examining the model in a digital environment supported by virtual reality technologies,
  • Sending the drawings/markers of the product to the cutting system via a wireless network in a digital environment using the cloud technology infrastructure,
  • Protecting industrial devices against cyber-security threats, while implementing digital information transfer by establishing a reliable data communication on a secure and flexible network infrastructure.

Predictive Maintenance
Predictive maintenance comprises a variety of data analytics and statistical techniques to uncover hidden patterns and capture relationships among devices. It mainly aims to predict possible device or equipment failures and to define a maintenance strategy accordingly, in order to decrease failure rate and increase device utilization.

Cyber-physical systems equipped with sensors, actuators, and processors are intelligent electronic systems with internet connectivity. They comprise extracting optimized decisions to preserve the capability and the functionality of the system by controlling problems of devices from large data-streams in real-time. They can make self-optimizing decisions by anticipating errors and quality problems that can occur.

Human-Robot Technology Collaboration in Cutting Department

  • Carrying fabrics from the warehouse to the cutting room by cyber-physical systems,
  • Spreading the fabric on the cutting table by cyber-physical systems and robots,
  • Completing the cutting operation through laser systems with a minimum-level of human interaction.

Intelligent Manufacturing

  • RFID tags placed on the garments contain information on how to make, iron, button, wash, and pack. It is a method for automatic recognition of individual objects using radio frequency.
  • RFID readers placed in each production station are integrated with the system. By reading the RFID tag of a product, the information on where the buttons are to be placed or the type of the button is received and the button operation is performed via the cyber physical systems based on this information.
  • By reading the RFID tag of a garment, the information about the water temperature for washing operation and the optimum temperature for ironing operation is obtained, and the machines set the degrees automatically for washing and ironing operations without any human-machine interaction.

You may also like: NFC Tag Embedded Smart Textiles

Robotic Quality Control
To satisfy customer requirements, the final product must meet certain quality criteria that are predetermined before delivery to the customer. These quality standards include criteria such as the accuracy of the product’s body measurements, the quality of the fabric, and manufacturing operations. Today, quality control is done by humans, but this sometimes causes incorrect results. In the context of Apparel 4.0, computer-aided quality control systems have been established to speed up the quality control process, increase its success, and collect production-related data regularly.

Advanced image processing methods and machine learning approaches provide the capability for easily reporting quality problems of the final product.

Packaging with Cyber Physical Systems

  • The packaging process is done according to the information contained in the RFID label, so that there is no human interaction with the cyber physical systems.
  • The RFID labels are put on the products to make the production information accessible by the customer, hence increasing the transparency.

The future of textile manufacturing will have datadriven smart manufacturing withconvergence of differenttechnologies and more adoptivemachine-human interface.

The managerial activities include receiving orders from customers, prototype modeling, customer approval, procurement of required fabrics and materials, production planning, enterprise resource management, employee performance management, and production management activities.

Innovative approaches within the scope of Apparel 4.0 are summarized as follows:

  1. End-to-end Digital Integration
  2. Wireless Sensor Networks
  3. 3D Product Design
  4. Customer’s Real-Time Order Tracking
  5. Real-Time Production Planning
  6. Real-Time Product Tracking
  7. Real-Time Employee Performance Management
  8. Real-Time Supplier Performance Management
  9. Production Line Balancing
  10. Human-Robot Technology Collaboration in Warehouse Management
  11. Real-Time Warehouse Management
  12. Sewing Training with Augmented Reality
  13. Training Robots with Kinect Technology

With a right approach by the Indian textile industry towards adoption of Apparel 4.0, following benefits can be accrued.

  1. Shorten time and cost to market by at least 20%
  2. Increase productivity and efficiency
  3. Seamless information flow across the value chain
  4. Enhance value addition by 10%
  5. Reduce cost by 5% every year
  6. Reduce rejection rate by 50% due to better control on quality
  7. Become globally competitive

For achieving the above objectives, the Indian textile companies need to realign themselves with the following steps:

  1. Initiate experiments with technology through pilots
  2. Upgrade the present IT infrastructure and technology platforms
  3. Increase spend on R&D and innovation
  4. Shift towards compliant and environment-friendly manufacturing
  5. Create sustainable advantages in business leveraging the technology
  6. Re-train the work force with required skill sets for new technologies
  7. Keep in mind the social angle w.r.t. workforce and consumers

future of textile industry


  1. Reduced order delivery time
  2. Agility
  3. Transparency
  4. Increased quality
  5. Increased productivity
  6. Reduced operational costs
  7. Increased customer satisfaction

You may also like: Recent Developments of Smart and Intelligent Textiles


1. Initial investment cost:
Cyber physical systems, robotics, virtual reality, 3D product design, wireless sensor networks, big data infrastructures and their integrations are very costly.

2. Privacy and security:
Even though there are many studies in the literature that investigate the privacy and security of digital data, it is still an important issue for many organizations.

3. Technical Challenges:
The proposed technologies in the scope of Apparel 4.0 are relatively new technologies, therefore the shortage of experienced workers in these technologies is a serious constraint.

4. Lack of a global standard:
The lack of a global standard developed for industry 4.0 for apparel industry causes an important difficulty.

5. Social difficulties:
With Industry 4.0, the number of required low-skilled labor force will shift towards more high-skilled complex jobs which require a more intense focus on emerging technologies. This brings an important social problem, unemployment.

Industry 4.0, which consists of the innovative approaches resulting from the 4th industrial revolution in the textile and apparel industry, is proposed. In addition, the benefits and challenges of Apparel 4.0 have been analyzed.

As a future work, performing cost-benefit analysis of Apparel 4.0 and conducting pilot studies to determine necessary updates in Apparel 4.0 are planned. Thus, Apparel 4.0 is intended to be a guide for clothing and apparel producers and practitioners in terms of the applicability of proposed innovative approaches.


  1. Textile Technology-An Introduction, 2nd edition by Thomas Gries, Dieter Veit, Burkhard Wulfhorst
  6. Textile 4.0 – is the Indian textile industry ready? by Mr. Gurudas V. Aras
  7. What Industry 4.0 Means for Apparel, Fashion, and Footwear Manufacturers _ CGS
  8. Upgrading of textile manufacturing based on Industry 4.0

You may also like:

  1. Automation and Robotics in Apparel Industry
  2. PROTRACKER – First Bangladeshi Software for Apparel Industry
  3. Dye House Automation System
  4. Loom Data Monitoring System in Weaving Mill
  5. Dyehouse Management Software: Function, Process and Treatment
  6. NFC Tag Embedded Smart Textiles
  7. Recent Developments of Smart and Intelligent Textiles

Note: If you want to publish article or thesis send at with your information.

Share this Article!

3 thoughts on “Industry 4.0 for Textile and Apparel Industry”

Leave a Comment