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Textile industries are the earliest industry to be set up on a large scale based on cotton and wool. Large scale industries were first set up in Britain. Cottage industries producing textiles have existed in India for thousands of years. Cotton is not a weight losing raw material and hence it can be transported over long distances. Textile industries are more widespread in distribution than any other industry.
Textile industries use a variety of raw materials derived from different sources. Cotton, jute, flux and hemp are derived from agriculture. Wool from sheep and silk from silkworm are also widely used. Synthetic fibres like rayon, nylon, terylene are obtained from plants or petrochemicals.
These fibres may be blended with cotton or wool to give blended fabrics. Cotton textile accounts for 70% of production of all types of textiles. Cotton textile industry is generally market oriented in location. Now there is a tendency for starting of new cotton mills in areas of cotton cultivation. There are two types of factories. Spinning mills produce yarn only, weaving mills produce cloth. Composite mills produce both yarn and cloth. Mills which produce yarn only supply them to hand loom and power loom weavers. The spread of electricity has led to dispersal of industry to many centres. Highly skilled labour is not needed for operating the machines. Therefore the industry has spread to developing nations all over the world.
The cotton textile industry involves processes like (i) ginning, (ii) carding, (iii) spinning, (iv) weaving and (v) dyeing and bleaching. The process of ginning separates the seed from the fibre. By carding the fibres are made parallel to each other. Spinning yields the yarn and weaving yields the cloth. Ginning is done in Ginneries (or ginning factories), which are usually situated in the cotton growing areas. Only ginned cotton enters into international trade channels. The other four operations, namely, carding, spinning, weaving and dyeing are done in cotton mills. A single cotton mill may do all the four operations. Such mills are known as composite mills.
The fineness of the yarn is indicated by the term 'count'. Count means the number of hanks, which can be produced by a pound of cotton. Length of yarn in each hank is 840 yards. Higher count means finer yarn. Therefore, for finer textiles, consumption of cotton is smaller and for coarser textiles, consumption is much more
Nowadays cotton accounts for about 50 per cent of world's industrial fibre consumption. Manmade fibres are in the second place and they account for nearly 20 per cent of all industrial fibre consumption.
Location and Distribution: The major raw material of a cotton mill is either ginned cotton or yarn. These are pure raw materials. So nearness to raw materials is not a major consideration for localization. The transportational cost is almost same whether the industry is localized in the market or in the cotton growing area. Under the circumstances, the other factors, such as the nearness to power supply, moist climate, labour supply, wage rates, ancillary industries, capital, organizational ability, etc. exert important influence on the location of a cotton mill industry. However, the industry has wide choice of location. It has developed near the market as well as in the cotton growing areas. In fact, the localization of this industry is extremely flexible and it constantly adjusts itself with the change of circumstances.
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