Industry 4.0 means a shifting to a period of green energy, and transition to the age of communication between machines, thereby equipping industrial production with cutting-edge technology. Countries implementing Industry 4.0 can increase productivity and shorten the processes of product launches. For this reason, we are witnessing a steady increase in the usage rate of Industry 4.0 technologies in many fields such as factories, supply chains and stores. In 2020, we will see increasing autonomy with robots.
There will be some negative changes-with the start of Industry 4.0-in our lives. For example, some people think that production by robots will reduce the need for manpower and that-in a sense-robots will take over people's jobs. But it is also a fact that people should not work in heavy and dangerous jobs. In industries which require heavy workloads, the work of robots and machines will be both more productive, more time-saving and more beneficial to human health. Employees in these fields can spend more energy on jobs which require more creativity and fine workmanship. With Industry 4.0, China, India and African countries will increase the number of new citizens at middle -income levels. It will bring advantages to optimise efficiency, quality, elasticity and supply chain management.
What are the challenges that the Turkish textile machinery industry is facing?
For the Turkish textile machinery industry to strengthen its current position, it needs to be able to keep up with the technology era, and to focus on information products and products with high added value. For this, it is necessary to attach importance to P&D and R&D activities, and to allocate resources for the same. However, as far as I can see there is a lack of vision and strategy in the textiles industry. For this reason, assistance and contributions are needed from businesses, the government, chambers of commerce and industry, universities, exporters' associations and relevant NGOs in order to establish long-term strategies. Compared to foreign competitors, basic costs such as energy, natural gas, labour, taxes and insurance are quite high in our country. Those need to be drawn at the global price level. Textile machinery manufacturers, like other exporters, are also facing exchange rate risks.
In general, there is a shortage of qualified staff in the textiles and textile machinery industries. Attempts to build cooperation between universities and businesses fail. The industry cannot make designs; thus, brands cannot be created. R&D investments cannot be made sufficiently. In order to be able to overcome these problems, it is necessary for the industry to invest heavily in knowledge, P&D and R&D. Companies should further their vision by providing necessary trainings for employees.
What are the challenges in getting people adapt to newer technologies?
For the Generation Y who are already using this system, it is not difficult to stay up-to-date. A great many of them are closely following the technology, learning about new devices immediately, and starting to use them too. However, the vast majority of the population are having difficulties in recognising new technology, and cannot catch up with the speed of the newly-developed devices. The slowest adapters are those over 50. It is difficult for this age group to understand the new world's jargon and adapt to it. Evaluating the approach of companies and owners to technological innovations in the Turkish textiles industry, it is necessary to draw attention to the following two points. First, in Turkey, companies look for a technology until they find one which fits their standards, and it is then adapted to their company's needs. Second, if they fail to find the technology which suits their own processes, they resort to updates over the closest alternatives according to their own standards.
What kind of revolution do you envision in the coming decade for Turkey's textiles industry?
Turkey being a country of cotton, textiles was one of the industries that played a key role in industrialisation. At the same time, our textiles industry has been able to maintain its competitive and dynamic structure in global markets by renewing production methods and tools, and producing high value-added products such as technical textiles. Considering the gross value added, net exports and foreign exchange gains and employment and entrepreneurship, textiles is one of the most important industries in our country as confirmed by export figures. Indeed, in 2017, the textiles and raw materials industry broke a record by closing the year with $10 billion worth of exports. In the third quarter of 2017, a growth of 11.1 per cent was recorded. I believe that manufacturers would protect the important position Turkey has in the forthcoming 10-year period.
On the other hand, Turkey's textiles market is known all over the world as having a very high investment capacity. The high-volume production trend will continue in the next decade. The relationship between volume production and low costs will maintain its importance. Turkey is a middle-income country using middle-level technologies. The importance of labour-focused competition will diminish. In the next decade, we will invest more in technology and witness the use of less labour. Product diversification process will accelerate, and product differentiation will affect competition power.
In addition, logistics is becoming increasingly important all over the world. Turkey needs to work more on this area. New technologies, storage systems and online distribution channels will become even more important. Turkey will develop in these areas. Over the next 10 years, developments in textile technologies will be more oriented towards automation. Multi-purpose smart cloths will be produced. Synthetic fibres will gain importance and will increase proportionally in the total fibre consumption. Logistics, especially procurement, storage and distribution planning, will play an important role in the supplier-consumer chain. Therefore, the importance of information technologies will increase greatly. Turkey will continue to maintain its position in the textiles industry as long as it does not keep away from these developments.
What were the top three innovations at ITM and Hightex?
ITM 2018 and Hightex 2018 have been events where many companies have made their global launches, and most of them exhibited their latest innovations. That's why it's a bit hard to talk about the top three innovations about ITM and Hightex. The leading brands in the textile machinery industry such as Picanol, Itema, Stoll, Karl Mayer and Saurer launched their latest products for the first time at ITM.
What will be the focus of the next ITM and Hightex exhibitions?
The points we will focus on at ITM and Hightex-which we will hold on June 2-6, 2020, are;
to turn these exhibitions from global meeting points for textiles into platforms where innovations and global launches in textile technologies are made;
to be the meeting point for the world's textiles industry by increasing the number of visitors;
We will continue on our path as being the epicentre where the world's textile manufacturers make decisions on machinery investments by closely examining the innovations, and meet the world's leading brands which introduce their technological innovations for the "first time". (HO)
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