#604 – The 4th Industrial Revolution

Posted on | The Agurban

The 4th Industrial Revolution

A number of “experts” are talking about the 4th Industrial Revolution. We are starting to learn more and more about this recent phenomenon, but what constitutes this newest revolution and how does it relate to the previous three?

An industrial revolution is defined as an event that led to vastly increased GDP growth.  This growth can occur by either more capital, more labor, or more productivity, with increased productivity by far the leading factor in extreme GDP growth.

Throughout the history of the United States, there have been three periods of extreme growth:

  1. Around 1780 with the emergence of mechanical production driven by the use of water and steam power, i.e. the steam engine.
  2. The early 20th century with the beginnings of mass mechanical production driven by the use of electrical power, i.e. Ford with assembly lines.
  3. Beginning in the 1970’s with the utilization of electronics and information technology further automating production, i.e. computers.

Now we are in the midst of the 4th industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, as it is commonly referred to. This revolution is Smart Automation, which focuses on the employment of “networked production” to further streamline the manufacturing process. Advancements in technology, new productivity levers, and changing workforce needs will drive manufacturing siting requirements as well.

A number of new technologies are impacting this 4th revolution, including:

  • Advanced Robotics
  • Additive Manufacturing (3D printing)
  • Cloud and Cyber Security
  • Industrial Internet
  • Mobile Technology
  • Data Mining

This next revolution is upon us! We have a lot to learn. This will have a definite impact on the way manufacturers operate, and even on where they operate. Stay tuned…