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Opinion: Time for Belarusian light industry to embrace Industry 4.0

17.01.2019

The Belarusian light industry needs to gradually embrace the Industry 4.0 concept which means high computerization of manufacturing process, Chairman of the Belarusian light industry concern Bellegprom Nikolai Yefimchik told BelTA.

According to him, the Industry 4.0 laboratory has been set up at Belwest footwear factory where the manufacturing process is carried out almost without people. "Embracing Industry 4.0 will become the main objective for clothing manufacturers in the coming years. Footwear manufacturers will be fully infused with such technology in the next two to three years," Nikolai Yefimchik noted.

When asked about investment in 2019, Nikolai Yefimchik said that several projects have already been implemented and some are still in progress. "The work on innovations is very active. We are reequipping factories using the financial assistance of the national innovation fund, loans and own finances. For example, Vitebsk Carpets company is building a factory to make polypropylene thread with an extruder which is a new line of business for the company. Mogotex textile company will launch the production of new fabrics, Gronitex textile company has stated the production of yarns which will be in demand. We plan to utilize some Br70 million of innovation resources to implement cutting-edge technologies," Nikolai Yefimchik explained.

Nikolai Yefimchik also commented on the capacity utilization of the new Vitebsk Fur Plant. Currently the plant operates at 30% of its capacities but soon this index will reach 50%. "We have decided that raw materials will be sourced from Belarus. The development of the plant is on schedule: stuff training, market and capacity development, search of partners. The plant will be mainly catering to foreign markets," Nikolai Yefimchik explained.

In the last five years, Bellegprom has worked without losses, with aggregate profits totaling Br170-180 million. Last year was more difficult due to external factors: the export to Russia decreased sufficiently after its government enacted resolution No.9. "We lost around Br70 million on export to Russia but we managed to make up for these losses by redirecting supplies to other countries such as Japan, Canada and by increasing shipments to Europe," Nikolai Yefimchik said. Developing Internet trade and reducing prime costs of products will be the main objectives for Bellegprom in 2019, he added.

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