A Brief History of Industry

We can begin to understand Industry 4.0 by examining how industry developed throughout history. So, why not take a look at how the Industrial Revolution has evolved from the past to the present?

First Industrial Revolution: Industry 1.0

In the first Industrial Revolution that started in 1760s and lasted into 1830s, the production evolved from physical strength to machine power. Increasing in quantity and improving in quality, the machines used steam power. During this process, coalbecame more popular compared to wood, ensuring more usage of the machines. Beginning in the United Kingdom, the Industrial Revolution spread to entire Europe and the USA within a short period. This radical change in production significantly changed both the economical world and the social structure. Population increased, as well as the average length of life. Moreover, everyday life became significantly easier, thus increasing the quality of life. The number of products produced in Europe increased significantly with the machines facilitating the production. European countries turned to the Middle, Near and Far East countries, where they can supply new raw material sources and market their products. Industry not only completed its first period, but also redrew the country borders affecting the international relations.

Second Industrial Revolution: Industry 2.0

After production became mechanized during the First Industrial Revolution, technology advanced even further and transition to the Second Industrial Revolution began. This period between 1840 and 1870 is also known as technological revolution. When technological revolution first appeared, transportation had already improved with the railroads. Facilitation of transportation significantly streamlined the supply of raw materials, and ensured that the products were delivered to new and faraway markets. In the Second Industrial Revolution when electrical technology also developed and was used in production, this new technology superior to steam power ensured that the machines are further advanced and the production increased greatly. Thus, the world became aware of the concept of mass production. Iron and steel raw materials became widespread and allowed the development of the heavy industry. England, Germany, USA, and Japan became the leading producers in heavy industry.

Third Industrial Revolution: Industry 3.0

During the first half of the 20th century, two big world wars had started one after the other and country borders had been shattered. Therefore, the industrialization and technological advancement slowed down compared to the previous periods. In this slowdown process, negative economic developments such as the Global Crisis in 1929 occurred in many countries, particularly the industrialized countries of the first two revolutions. Effects of the crisis had to diminish in order for the industry to continue with its development, but this could only happen in the 1950s when World War II was over. The 1950s, during when digital technology developed, laid the foundations of the Third Industrial Revolution. Digital developments particularly starting with the production of Z1, an electrically driven mechanical calculator, to the computer were very useful in the production process. Another important progress during the Third Industrial Revolution was the development of communication technologies along with the supercomputer. Smaller and practical products entered into our everyday lives with the use of computers and communication technologies in production processes. In this process, machines did not only dominate our everyday lives, but also began to abolish the need for human power in life.

Fourth Industrial Revolution: Industry 4.0

In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the machines began to manage themselves and the production process, so they no longer needed manpower. Machines owe this automation to computer, communication and internet technologies. This advanced technology, called the “Internet of Things” (IoT) allows a product factory to manage itself virtually. Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0> was first mentioned by Bosch at the Hannover Trade Fair in 2011. Experts at the trade fair said that a new Industrial Revolution had arrived with innovations brought into production by the modern face of the information era. When the German Government took these opinions seriously, the Fourth Industrial Revolution had become official. After the trade fair, a working group on the Fourth Industrial Revolution was established. One year later, this working group presented its suggestions for the actual implementation of Industry 4.0 at the next Hannover Trade Fair, and reported this to the German Government. Bosch executive Siegfried Dais and SAP AG executive Henning Kagermann co-chaired the working group.