What is Industry 4.0 And How It Began (Part 2)

By February 5, 2021Industry 4.0

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Industry 2.0

Power & Process

Industry 2.0: Developments in Industry 1.0 manufacturing emphasised a stronger power source and a more efficient way to organise manufacturing work.

The next industrial revolution, Industry 2.0, represented a surge of industrialisation from 1870 to 1914. During this time, manufacturing innovation benefitted from the discovery of a newer, more potent energy source and new, more efficient manufacturing and post-production methods.

Also known as the Technological Revolution, Industry 2.0 was a time when the innovations of the past became the useful knowledge of the late 19th and early 20th century. This knowledge, when combined with new ideas and economic and social incentives, enabled manufacturers to produce consumer and capital goods at an unprecedented scale.

Industry 2.0: Operations take centre stage 

In the late 1700s, commercial incentives made manufacturers very interested in the idea of efficiency and how to achieve it. Most of the big ideas driving Industry 2.0 were related to process and ultimately profit.

Electrified manufacturing methods — In the mid-to-late 1700s, coal-based steam power replaced human effort and waterpower during Industry 1.0. Later, energy-dense oil and gas-powered electricity replaced steam power in factories.

Using electricity in manufacturing made business sense. First, it was cheaper than steam. It also enabled a more efficient arrangement of machine tools along the assembly line on the factory floor.

The phenomenon of electricity was old news—incandescent light bulbs hark back to 1809. However, building a useful infrastructure that delivered safe, reliable electrical power was another matter. That accomplishment came in 1882, when figuring out how to deploy and use electricity in factories required decades more time and effort.

Mass production — Steam-powered textile manufacturing made it clear that machines could produce more goods much more quickly than human-based production. Mass production became the umbrella term for the high-volume manufacture of products that used standardised parts, techniques, and machinery.

Experience with the machine tool industry and creating standardised parts (both late-18th-century innovations) provided useful knowledge that enabled the development of assembly-line mass production about a century later.

Assembly line production — Mass production marked the change from time-consuming, file-and-fit production methods to time-saving assembly methods. Assembly line production was another significant change in manufacturing process design. A specialised type of mass production, assembly line manufacturing uses ideas developed before 1870:

  • The division of labour — the plan that divided a process into different specialised tasks, first described by Adam Smith in his 1776 book, The Wealth of Nations.
  • Standardised, pre-machined parts, machined to specific tolerances — This approach moved away from the artisan’s approach to manufacturing methods. It also minimised the time and effort a worker needed to complete a task. Weapons manufacture in 1790s America was the first application of this production method.
  • Continuous flow production — The famous Ford Model T moving assembly line used this idea, which already existed in flour mills, breweries, canneries, and industrial bakeries. Ford used the basic assembly line idea developed by Ransom E. Olds, a rival car manufacturer of Oldsmobile fame. Ford improved the process by bringing each semi-assembled car to workers, who repeated the same simple task, time and time again.

The goal of these improvements was to increase production efficiency by minimising the time and effort spent doing each of a series of tasks. Lower costs not only boosted Ford profits but increased revenues, too. Lower cost of production famously made the Model T accessible to more customers and triggered the automobile age.

  • Efficiency — The idea of efficient operations as a good thing, which manufacturers can achieve with process improvements, also goes back to The Wealth of Nations. However, it took more than a century to take hold in the early 1900s. That’s when followers of the Efficiency Movement developed methods that made manufacturing more profitable by avoiding inefficient processes and wasted resources.

The supply chain — This idea rose to prominence the era of assembly-line production. It includes everything—all the people, information, and resources—that manufacturers had to manage in manufacturing. The supply chain was an end-to-end concept, which embraced product sourcing, production, and distribution, from suppliers to customers.

Industry 2.0: Second Industrial Revolution

Second Industrial Revolution

Development of assembly-line production in the early 20th century put the focus on managing the cost, origin, and quality of parts as well as finished products. Manufacturers started paying attention to supply chains to cut the costs of surplus and shortage of parts.

Industry 1.0 to Industry 4.0 Summary

Industry 1.0 to Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 Portal Articles 


Written by Colin Koh, Senior Business Development Manager, Industry 4.0 Consultant. This Industry 4.0 Article Series is aimed to enlightened readers about everything they need to know about Industry 4.0 and its application about technologies and benefits to companies and consumers.

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