What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0?
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO

What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0?  It is how historians and futurist are describing what is transpiring in manufacturing today.  We are all aware of the Industrial Revolution.  However, to be accurate, there has been more than one.

The First Industrial Revolution (roughly 1760-1840) used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second Industrial Revolution (roughly 1870-1914) used electric power to create mass production. The Third Industrial Revolution (roughly 1950-1970) used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third. It is characterized by the fusion of technologies that merge the physical, digital, and biological spheres.

There are at least three reasons why today’s transformations represent the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  They are velocity, scope, and systems impact. The speed of technological and process breakthroughs has no historical precedent. When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is accelerating at an exponential, rather than linear, rate. Moreover, it is disrupting every industry globally. And, these changes impact entire systems of production, management, and governance.

We stand on the brink of an industrial revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, it could be unlike anything humankind has ever experienced before.

Some of the important changes we are seeing – and will see increasingly more of – include:

  • Robot-Assisted Production: The entire basis of industry will rely on smart devices interacting with the environment and workers. Smart devices equipped with cameras, sensors, and actuators will identify the product and then deliver the necessary changes for it. Consequently, the demand for robotic programmer’s and coordinators will grow exponentially.
  • Self-Driving Logistics Vehicles: Manufacturers will use self-driving vehicles with the assistance of big data. Self-driving vehicles allow for restriction-free working hours and much higher utility.
  • Production Line Simulation: The need for industrial engineers (who typically work on optimization and simulation) to simulate productions lines will increase. Having the technology to simulate production lines before establishing them will open up jobs for mechanical engineers specializing in the industrial field.
  • Predictive Maintenance: Smart devices will allow manufacturers to predict failures. Also, smart machines will independently maintain themselves.
  • Machines as a Service: Manufactures will sell a machine as a service. Instead of selling the entire machine to the client, the machine will be set-up and maintained by the manufacturer while the client takes advantage of the services it provides.

Are you ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?  It is upon us.  Here at MACNY we are committed to helping you understand it and excel within it.

Sources used for this article and available for more detailed review and study include:

https://www.cleverism.com/industry-4-0/ https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-fourth-industrial-revolution-what-it-means-and-how-to-respond/