This article is a sidebar to "Upgrading Smart Manufacturing with Industry 4.0."
For centuries, goods including food, clothing, houses and weaponry were manufactured by hand or with the help of work animals. By the beginning of the 19th century, though, manufacturing began to change dramatically with the introduction of Industry 1.0, and operations rapidly developed from there. Here is an overview of that evolution.
In the 1800s, water- and steam-powered machines were developed to aid workers. As production capabilities increased, business also grew from individual cottage owners taking care of their own — and maybe their neighbors’ — needs to organizations with owners, managers and employees serving customers.
By the beginning of the 20th century, electricity became the primary source of power. It was easier to use than water and steam and enabled businesses to concentrate power sources to individual machines. Eventually machines were designed with their own power sources, making them more portable.
This period also saw the development of a number of management programs that made it possible to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of manufacturing facilities. Division of labor, where each worker does a part of the total job, increased productivity. Mass production of goods using assembly lines became commonplace. American mechanical engineer Frederick Taylor introduced approaches of studying jobs to optimize worker and workplace methods. Lastly, just-in-time and lean manufacturing principles further refined the way in which manufacturing companies could improve their quality and output.
In the last few decades of the 20th century, the invention and manufacture of electronic devices, such as the transistor and, later, integrated circuit chips, made it possible to more fully automate individual machines to supplement or replace operators. This period also spawned the development of software systems to capitalize on the electronic hardware. Integrated systems, such as material requirements planning, were superseded by enterprise resources planning tools that enabled humans to plan, schedule and track product flows through the factory. Pressure to reduce costs caused many manufacturers to move component and assembly operations to low-cost countries. The extended geographic dispersion resulted in the formalization of the concept of supply chain management.
In the 21st century, Industry 4.0 connects the internet of things (IOT) with manufacturing techniques to enable systems to share information, analyze it and use it to guide intelligent actions. It also incorporates cutting-edge technologies including additive manufacturing, robotics, artificial intelligence and other cognitive technologies, advanced materials, and augmented reality, according to the article “Industry 4.0 and Manufacturing Ecosystems” by Deloitte University Press.
The development of new technology has been a primary driver of the movement to Industry 4.0. Some of the programs first developed during the later stages of the 20th century, such as manufacturing execution systems, shop floor control and product life cycle management, were farsighted concepts that lacked the technology needed to make their complete implementation possible. Now, Industry 4.0 can help these programs reach their full potential.