We are all in a new industrial age known as the 4th Industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 for short. Technology has come a long way in this short period and (with assistance from IBM) it helps to know where we are going to once we know where we came from.
The First industrial revolution started in the late 18th century in Britain, and helped enable mass production by using water and steam power instead of purely human and animal power.
The Second industrial revolution started a century later and introduced assembly lines and the use of oil, gas and electric power. These new power sources, along with more advanced communications via telephone and telegraph, brought mass production and some degree of automation to manufacturing processes.
The Third industrial revolution began in the middle of the 20th century and added computers, telecommunications and data analysis to manufacturing processes. The digitization of factories began by embedding programmable logic controllers (PLCs) into machinery to help automate some processes and collect and share data.
The Fourth industrial revolution which we are now in has been characterised by increasing automation and the employment of smart machines and smart factories to produce goods and services more efficiently and productively across the value chain. It has occurred so that manufacturers can better meet evolving customer demands.
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