Improving Resource Efficiency:  SITA facilitates training for textile factories in East Africa

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By Devika Jyothi

Continuing its efforts to strengthen the capacity and competiveness of the East African textile sector, the International Trade Centre (ITC), through SITA, facilitated a training programme on improving resource efficiency for textile processing factories in Ethiopia and Tanzania. SITA has been working on strengthening the East African textile sector through the provision of training and best practice learning from Indian enterprises.

The resource efficiency training was organised in response to requests from the Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute (ETIDI) and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (MITI), United Republic of Tanzania. The training was for supervisors in domestic textile companies to enhance their skills and knowledge for efficient operation of utilities. Prior to the training, SITA visited several Ethiopian textile factories to assess their needs. Besides the need to augment infrastructure to address export quality requirements, the assessment also identified a significant skill gap in the efficient operation and maintenance of key utilities that result in inefficiencies and costs jeopardising the competitiveness of the sector.

The 5-day training, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 12-16 March 2018, aimed to enhance capabilities for efficient operation and maintenance (O&M) of utilities such as boilers, thermic fluid heaters, air compressors, power transformers, motors, pumps and effluent treatment plants (ETPs). The training sought to provide trainers, supervisors and factory workers with core skills pertaining to textile processing, with specific emphasis on overall plant utility including steam, power and water; thermal system, specifically steam management as well as water and waste water management. The programme was designed to provide practical and actionable inputs for improving resource efficiency to ensure smooth and uninterrupted operations in a textile factory.

While the resource savings potential could vary from factory to factory, adopting the O&M best practices covered in the training could save 10-15 percent in energy and 15 to 20 percent of water consumption. Other environmental benefits include reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 10-15 percent and improved wastewater quality discharge to surrounding surface water. Further, improved ETP performance could lead to better access to export market.

A total of 23 participants – mostly middle management executives with a background in engineering, maintenance and utility – attended the training. The participants represented seven textile factories – six based in Ethiopia and one in Tanzania – as well as the Ethiopian Textiles Industry Development Institute (ETIDI).

In organising the programme, ITC engaged the Textile Sector Skills Council (TSC), a specialist skills development body promoted under the Government of India’s national skill development initiative. TSC further collaborated with cKinetics, a specialist sustainability advisory and training provider to lead the development and delivery of the necessary training content.

‘Based on the topics identified for the training, the programme was designed to develop relevant understanding on operating principles, operation and maintenance best practices, giving first-hand demonstrations to participants,’ commented Mr. Archak Pattanaik, Sr. Engagement Manager at cKinetics. ‘The training will enable the participants to adopt best practices in their respective areas and further transfer their learnings to the other relevant staff in their factories.’

In trying to develop procedural knowledge through a problem solving approach, the training adopted the case study method of instruction. In addition to discussing relevant case studies that provided cues on industry best practices globally, the sessions included group exercises, presentations and quizzes to ensure active participation from the participants. The training material included slide decks and audio- visual clips making it informative and interesting as well.

The class room training was followed by a demonstration at Ayka Addis – a vertically integrated unit based in Addis Ababa with spinning, weaving, dyeing and garmenting sections – enabling the participants to practically apply and test the classroom learnings for easier implementation at their respective factories. The demonstration focused on providing hands-on training to the participants on usage of various testing equipments such as power analyzer, boiler flue gas analyzer, ultrasonic leak detector for identifying compressed air leakages, IR thermometer to check the health of steam traps, onsite jar tests to check sludge settling and chemical dosing at ETPs. In addition, various tools and systems such as tag systems for identifying leakages and taking corrective action were introduced. Various log sheets for maintaining compressed leakage, steam trap maintenance, ETP operation and maintenance were also introduced during the practical demonstration.

Demonstration on usage of power analyser to check power quality

In addition, a set of five posters related to training topics were distributed to each participant for display at their facilities. Aimed at creating awareness of resource efficiency and savings, the posters provide visual tips on various operation and maintenance best practices in a simple manner.

During the concluding group exercise, representatives from each factory identified the areas for improvement in their operations and discussed how the learnings from the training will be applied on site, specifying timelines for implementation. The programme ended with a feedback session and award of certificates to participants. The participants were also provided with a training kit, which included the copy of the decks, cases studies and quizzes.

According to feedback from the participants, most found the training very useful to their day to day work life. They have also recommended such programmes to be arranged for their colleagues and factory personnel for faster implementation of the best practices and improvement measures.

‘The session on compressed air and steam distribution was very useful,’ observed Mr. Amanuel Giday of ETIDI. ‘We would need to work on a detailed plan of action to identify and solve the existing problems in the industry,’ he said, emphasising the ‘need to concentrate on problem solving.’

‘These trainings should be organised more regularly. And, it must be made mandatory for companies to participate so as to improve industry standards as well as for efficiency and cost savings,’ commented Mr. Francis Mbal, Technical Manager at ATZ Textile Mills. ‘The training and learning material has been helpful. I would also recommend adding a session on electronics troubleshooting techniques as it would be beneficial to maintenance personnel, particularly in PLCs,’ Mr. Mbal added.

‘The training program was very encouraging in terms of participation of attendees. I am happy that the participants demonstrated a keen desire to apply the learnings in their day-to-day activities. The learnings gained during the training session would help Ethiopian textile companies undertake implementation of best practices and significant resource efficiency improvement measures,’ remarked Dr. J.V. Rao, Chief Executive Officer, Textile Sector Skill Council (TSC), New Delhi, India.

Session on steam generation

Voices of SITA
Voices of SITA
This blog provides a window into the SITA project. Through stories from India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania, this blog showcases the project’s progress and impact.