What is industry 4.0 anyway?
The Industrial Revolution changed the face of manufacturing forever in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Water wheels and steam-powered engines enabled unskilled workers to use machinery for the first time, initially in the textile industry; however, the benefits were quickly seen across a range of industries keen to capitalise on the new technology.
Industry 3.0 probably commenced around 1960 with the birth of computerisation. Automated processes now became commonplace, bringing a high degree of precision and accuracy thanks to robotics and CNCs (computer numerical controls)
The birth of industry 4.0
Some industry insiders claim that both industry 2.0 and industry 4.0 are more about capitalising on their predecessors, refining and evolving the available technology to make systems work better, faster and more efficiently; in fact, according to a recent article in Tech Radar, industry 4.0 is neither a business discipline nor a new technology but simply a new and modern approach using technology to achieve quantifiable results.
As the cost of digital technology continues to reduce, increasing numbers of manufacturing companies will incorporate automation into their systems. The introduction of 3D computer printing systems has helped to fuel interest in the technology, encouraging its use in mainstream manufacturing methods.
Already, the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming more widely accepted and the interconnectedness of machines and computers, coupled with artificial intelligence, looks set to fuel the progress of industry 4.0.