Industry 4.0 – The Internet of Things
Over 200 years have passed since the first industrial revolution changed manufacturing forever. The original revolution, led by steam power of the 1800s, started a domino effect that continues to this day. Transformation of modern industry never stopped, and two other revolutions pioneered by electricity and automation kept the dominoes dropping.
As humankind continues to march into the 21st century, a fourth round of industry transformation is prepared for a “smart” reboot of the factory framework. What can we expect from this new revolution?
History of Industrial Revolutions
- Industrial Revolution – Steam Power. In the early 1800s, the original industrial revolution delivered mechanization through steam powered engines. Machined tools and factory systems changed the world as textile production ramped output and capital investment to levels unseen.
- Revolution 2.0 – Electricity and Assembly Lines. As the century turned and manufactures harnessed electricity, factory workers were organized into mass assembly for production of goods delivered on a massive scale by rail. Revolution 2.0 brought massive industrial development and railroad construction to the United States.
- Revolution 3.0 – Automation. Computers, science and technology lead the changes of the late 1900’s. Automation saved energy and materials while increasing quality, accuracy and precision. With a computer calling the shots, labor needs were reduced by Revolution 3.0.
The Next Chapter – The Internet of Things
Following in the footsteps of the other revolutions, Industry 4.0 will make changes that previous generations could have never imagined. The kind of changes that could only be possible in a world of ultra high-speed smart devices that calculate and communicate on a level of intelligence that dwarf human capacity for the same tasks.
Revolution 4.0 has been called The Internet of Things – a transformation of the connectivity between machines and the factory floor. Smart devices will take over the global communication process, making decisions and changes at warp speed. Like Revolution 3.0, technology is at the heart of the change. However, this revolution makes technology the heart, mind and hands of the operation.The Basics of Revolution 4.0
The Basics of Revolution 4.0
- Connection between machines and networks. Linking the factory floor with web networks will become widespread.
- Better, faster decision-making. Calculating and decision-making at speeds that human minds and bodies can’t match. Faster and more precise.
- The human job will change. Revolution 4.0 won’t delete the need for humans, but it will increase the need for specialized training. The flow of work will change, but our input and decision-making won’t go away.
- Cyber Security needs increase. Cyber threat is already a major hurdle for the manufacturing industry. The protection against hacking and security of intellectual property will be high on the priority list as Rev 4.0 takes over.
- Sensors take center stage. Communication between machines and computers will only be as good as the sensors that detect, count, and sense. They are the foundation of Rev 4.0.
- Cloud data storage. Data stored in an offsite cloud server will need to be accessed easily and quickly to avoid compromising the new factory flow. Space to store data will be a concern, as massive daily data production will need to be collected and organized in real time.
Many of the same engineers, machinists and factory workers that ushered in the automation revolution of the late 1900s will have the unique opportunity to witness two industrial revolutions in their lifetime. Syncing computer systems with production CNC machines is the heart of 4.0 – The Internet of Things – a transformation in commination and decision-making, another domino in the 200 year history of industry.