Automation is the use of control systems such as computers to control the industrial machinery and processes replacing human operators, whereas mechanization provides human operators with machineries to assist them with the physical requirements of work. Automation greatly reduces the need for human sensory and mental requirement as well.
The developments in digital technology, controllers, relay switches, and sensors helped in the designing of automatic tools for various automation applications. Nowadays, there have been wide applications of automation in various fields such as chemical plants, oil refineries, mining, textile industries, garment manufacturing, steel plants, plastic manufacturing, automotive components, aircraft production, and food processing.
Clothing is the second most important need to human beings after food. This need is increasing around the world because of increased population and behavioural changes of consumers. The global need for clothing is fulfilled by the production facilities in developing countries, as it is not economically viable to produce cheaper clothes in developed countries. In this regard, developed countries adopted automation in their apparel and textile production many years ago, however, third world countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia etc. are still not so automated in those sectors. But to remain competitive it is now necessary to make the industry automated.
“Due to automation technology, productivity is increasing and demand of manpower is decreasing,” said Abdullah Mohammad Talha, Deputy Managing Director of Noman Group.
“Many industry owners are using new technology for competitive market. Besides technology, industry owners need knowledge and training for adopted new technology,” said KaziSalekin, Merchandising Manager MastertexInternational (Bangladesh Liaison Office).
Wall Street Journal reported that at the Mohammadi Fashion Sweaters Ltd. factory in Bangladesh’s capital, a few dozen workers stand watching as 173 German-made machines knit black sweaters for overseas buyers. Occasionally, the workers step in to programme designs or clean the machines, but otherwise there is little for humans to do.
It is a big change from a few years ago, when hundreds of employees could be found standing over manual knitting stations for up to 10 hours a day. Mohammadi’s owners began phasing out such work in 2012, and by last year, the knitting process was fully automated. “It doesn’t make sense for us to slow ourselves down,” and not automate, says RubanaHuq, Managing Director of Mohammadi Group, which makes sweaters for H&M, Zara and other Western brands. Her factouries have replaced about 500 workers with machines and may buy more, she said. Yet the number of new jobs added by the garment and textile trades has fallen to 60,000 a year, from over 300,000 annually between 2003 and 2010, according to World Bank data. Government statistics show a crucial part of the supply chain—the production of basic textiles—is already seeing an outright decline in jobs. However, the production and export is increasing as the many factory owners are using advanced machineries.