From the beginning of the industrial revolution in the 18th century, the world has seen many great advances in every domain.
In the past, people manufactured things such as weapons, tools, food, clothing, and housing by using their own hand or by working with animals.
The breakthrough came at the end of the 18th century when the manufacturing process was introduced. That was the first step to Industry 1.0 and from there it came a rapid uphill climb to the present – Industry 4.0 era.
Let’s take a journey and see an overview of this transformation using key-changes:
1st Industrial Revolution – where it all began
Industry 1.0 can also be named as the beginning of the industry culture which focused equally on quality, efficiency, and scale.
The First Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century through the use of steam power and mechanization of production.
The mechanized version achieved eight times the volume at the same time, instead of the previous technique.
The use of steam power for industrial purposes was the greatest breakthrough for increasing human productivity.
Here we have developments such as the steamship or (some 100 years later) the steam-powered locomotive that allowed humans and goods to move great distances in fewer hours.
2nd Industrial Revolution – Hello electricity!
The beginning of the 20th century marked the start of the second industrial revolution – Industry 2.0 – governed by electrical energy.
Electrical energy was already being used as a primary source of power. Also, electrical machines were more efficient to operate and maintain, both in terms of cost and effort.
This era also saw the evolution of the industry culture introduced in Industry 1.0 into management programs to enhance the efficiency of manufacturing facilities.
Henry Ford (1863-1947) carried over these principles into automobile production and drastically altered it in the process. While before one station assembled an entire automobile, now the vehicles were produced in partial steps on the conveyor belt – significantly faster and at a lower cost.
American mechanical engineer Fredrick Taylor also introduced the study of approaches to optimize workers, workplace techniques, an optimal allocation of resources.
3rd Industrial Revolution – it’s partial automation time
The Third Industrial Revolution began in the ’70s in the 20th century – the main changes were partial automation using memory-programmable controls and computers.
This was an important point in history because, since the introduction of these technologies, we are now able to automate an entire production process – without human assistance.
Known examples of this are robots that perform programmed sequences without human intervention.
Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), which was first built in the 1960s was one of the landmark inventions that signified automation using electronics. The integration of electronics hardware into the manufacturing systems also created a requirement for software systems.
The software systems also enabled many management processes such as enterprise resource planning, inventory management, shipping logistics, product flow scheduling, and tracking throughout the factory.
The pressure to reduce costs forced many manufacturers to move to low-cost countries.
The dispersion of the geographical location of manufacturing led to the formation of the concept of Supply Chain Management.
4th Industrial Revolution – IT&C modern times
At this time, we are currently implementing the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As you know, the boom in the Internet and telecommunication industry in the 1990s revolutionized the way we connected and exchanged information.
This era is characterized by the application of information and communication technologies to industry and it continues to develop the 3rd Industrial Revolution’s production systems.
Production systems that already have computer technology are expanded by a network connection – these allow communication with other facilities and the output of information about themselves.
Industry 4.0 is using Cyber-Physical Systems to share, analyze, and guide intelligent actions for various processes in the industry to make the machines smarter.
The benefit is that these smart machines can continuously monitor, detect, and predict faults to suggest preventive measures and remedial action.
The same dynamic approach can be translated to other aspects in the industry such as logistics, production scheduling, optimization of throughput times, quality control, capacity utilization, and efficiency-boosting.
CPPs also allow an industry to be completely virtually visualized, monitored, and managed from a remote location and thus adding a new dimension to the manufacturing process. It puts machines, people, processes, and infrastructure into a single networked loop making the overall management highly efficient.
As the technology-cost curve becomes steeper every day, more and more rapid technology disruptions will emerge at even lower costs and revolutionize the industrial ecosystem.
So it’s clear that industries must adopt the new systems as fast as possible to stay relevant and profitable.
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