Top Innovations in the History of the Manufacturing Industry (Until Now)

Simply put, Industry 4.0 represents the next step in the evolution of both manufacturing and the global supply chain.  But, before we take a deep dive into Industry 4.0, which we’ll do in upcoming posts, (get your scuba gear ready) let’s review the past three generations of our industry.

 Industry 1.0 = Water & Steam Power

Innovators harnessed the power of heat energy to water, thereby creating steam. In turn, the steam exerted pressure and created momentum to do work. Steam power reduced the need to be close to bodies of water – creating new opportunities for businesses, employment, and more inventions. This technology advancement was such a game changer – or so revolutionary – it became known as the Industrial Revolution.

Industry 2.0 = Electricity

 With the dawn of the twentieth century, electricity became the primary source of power. It was much easier to use than water and steam, and it enabled manufacturers to channel power sources to individual machines. This innovation gave way to a host of new, efficient machinery – including those used for the mass production of goods (and, in our area of interest, automobiles) on assembly lines.

 Industry 3.0 = Electronic hardware & software

 The second half of the twentieth century ushered in a wave of innovation, resulting in the invention and mass manufacturing of electronic devices and integrated circuit chips. The possibilities for ingenuity became endless as scientists began developing software systems to integrate with electric hardware.

This (super) quick look at our history reminds us that as society continues to evolve, so does technology – and our way of doing business. Each evolution enabled us to work with more efficiency, flexibility, and energy.

What’s next? You know what’s next – Industry 4.0, and it’s happening NOW.