The Four Industrial Revolutions

CEO, Power-MI
eventNovember 26, 2018

When the German Federal Government presented the concept of Industry 4.0 at the Hannover fair in 2011, they did not calculate the media hype and the adoption of the concept, both in the industry and the broader society. Although the original idea was to create a multidisciplinary working team with academics and industry leaders to be able to create the master lines that should be followed by the productive German companies for their transformation into smart factories.

They called it 4.0 to emphasize the fact that we are facing the fourth industrial revolution. Implicitly, they define the other three past industrial revolutions.

The first industrial revolution is the one concentrated in England at the beginning of 1765 with the incorporation of the driving force generated mainly by steam machines. It was the steam machine that burst into agriculture and transportation, later allowing the mechanization of the industry.

In 1870, electricity comes in and consequently, the electric motor is incorporated into the productive processes, allowing mass production in what is considered the second industrial revolution.

In 1969, informatics are incorporated in the industry through the programmable logic controllers, which builds the foundations for the automation of the productive processes, considering it the third industrial revolution.

Thus, the fourth revolution is the one we are currently living. If the steam machine originated the first industrial revolution, the electric motor the second one, and the programmable logic controllers the third one, what defines the fourth industrial revolution are the cyber-physical systems.

We will talk about the cyber-physical systems in another article of our blog. For now, we will make clear that the fourth industrial revolution is linked to the invasion of the information technologies and the data communication capacity that we are currently living.

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