The Internet of Things – a transformation of the connectivity between machines and the factory floor – is the next chapter of change in the manufacturing and machining industry. Called Revolution 4.0, the Internet of Things is a revolution that makes technology the hearts, minds and hands of the industry.
As humankind marches into the 21st century, a 4th round of industry transformation is prepared for a “smart” reboot of the factory framework. This reboot prepares to give smart devices the power to take over the global communication process to make decision and changes at a speed that the human mind could never match.
History of Industrial Revolutions
As the Internet of Things prepares to usher in Rev 4.0, a nostalgic trip down memory lane helps remind us where our industry has been. For some unique perspective, look at how each previous revolution built upon the success and dreams of its predecessors:
- Bring the Steam. The 1880s gave us the original revolution, the one you learned about in grade school. Machine tools and factory systems changed the world as textile production ramped output and capital investment to levels unseen.
- Let There Be Light. Electricity anyone? Welcome to Revolution 2.0. As the century turned and manufacturers harnessed electrical power, factories were organized into mass assembly for production and delivery on a massive scale thanks to the boom in railroad construction across the U.S.
- Hello, Mr. Roboto. Revolution 3.0, the computer takeover, just not Hollywood style. Yet. Science and technology lead to automation that increases quality, accuracy and precision. Computers start calling the shots.
The Next Domino
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 machines is the heart of the next domino, the next chapter in the two hundred year history of industry and machining.
Three things to know about Revolution 4.0:
- Human Responsibilities 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. Financial and budgetary decisions will continue to fall on the shoulders of owners and managers.
- Security, Security, Security. Cyber threat is already a major hurdle for the manufacturing industry. Protecting stored data and intellectual property against hacking will be high on the list of priorities.
- Spotlight on Sensors. Communication between machines and computers will only be as good as the sensors that detect, count, and sense. They are the foundation of Revolution 4.0. Without sensors, the connection between machines and networks won’t work. Linking the factory floor with web networks falls on the shoulder of sensors.
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