Industry 1.0 - First Industrial Revolution

Water and steam powered mechanical production. First power loom, 1784.

The first known steam engine is the steam turbine called Aeolipile, invented by the Egyptian engineer Heron made in the first century, towards 50’s. The aeolipile consists of a vessel, usually a "simple" solid of revolution, such as a sphere or a cylinder, arranged to rotate on its axis, having oppositely bent or curved nozzles projecting from it. The industrial use of the steam power can be possible as late as 18th century.

Thomas Savery, an English engineer and inventor has built the first commercially used steam powered engine in 1698. This machine had a great use and advantage for drayning mines, known as “The Miner’s Friend”. The machine was working at very high pressures, which could not be handled safely with the technology of its time. It also consumed a large amount of fuel compared with later engines. Savery machine could not find place in the industry because of its low efficiency, but created a base for the later pumping systems and steam engines.

In 1712 Thomas Newcomen developed a new machine. The engine operated by condensing steam drawn into the cylinder, thereby creating a partial vacuum, allowing the atmospheric pressure to push the piston into the cylinder. The cycle was continuing as the steam filled in the piston again. Despite being less dangerous than the Savery machine, the desired efficiency was not reached; the fuel consumption could not be reduced.

In 1764, one of the broken Newcomen machines was given to Scottish engineer James Watt for repairing. Watt repaired the machine and started to work for improving this low performance machine. In 1781, he produced a steam machine that provides a continuous cycle and produces 10 horsepower.

A sketch of the Watt machine.

Designed by Edmund Cartwright in 1784 and produced in 1785, the mechanical power loom is accepted as the main development led to the industrial revolution. With this development, efficiency in textile industry has increased by 40-50 times, resulted a huge increase in textile production.

The human discovered the power of water and steam, used this in the most efficient way by designing mechanical systems and production looms, which reduced the need of human power in production processes.

The Industrial Revolution marks a major turning point in history, affecting many industries like textile, metallurgy, chemistry, agriculture, mining, transportation; and almost every aspect of daily life was influenced in some way.

Industry 2.0 - Second Industrial Revolution

Mass production and division of labour with the help of electrical energy.

The assembly line was first used on a large scale by the meat-packing industries of Cincinnati during the 1870s. These slaughterhouses used monorail trolleys to move suspended carcasses past a line of stationary workers, each of whom did one specific task. In the later years, the factories met with the electricity. Electric engines were far more efficient compared to small size steam turbines. Use of electricity became a very common practice with the development of DC and AC engines; assembly line and division of labour practices peaked with Ford’s Model T.

By mechanically moving the parts to the assembly work and moving the semi-finished assembly from work station to work station, a finished product can be assembled faster and with less labor than by having workers carry parts to a stationary piece for assembly. Standardized production and using interchangeable parts has also helped to decrease the costs.

The meatpacking industry of Chicago is believed to be one of the first industrial assembly lines (or dis-assembly lines) to be utilized in the United States starting in 1867. Workers would stand at fixed stations and a pulley system would bring the meat to each worker and they would complete one task. Henry Ford and others have written about the influence of this slaughterhouse practice on the later developments at Ford Motor Company.

The moving assembly line was developed for the Ford Model T and began operation on October 7, 1913. The assembly line, driven by conveyor belts, reduced production time for a Model T to just 93 minutes. The production was so quick (one vehicle in every three minutes), creating bottleneck for the paint house as the paint do not dry. Only Japan black would dry fast enough, forcing the company to drop the variety of colours available before 1914, until fast-drying Duco lacquer was developed in 1926.

Ford assembly line, production of Model T.

Decreased costs of production allowed the cost of the Model T to fall within the budget of the American middle class. In 1908, the price of a Model T was around 825 USD, and by 1912 it had decreased to around 575 USD. This price reduction is comparable to a reduction from 15.000 USD to 10.000 USD in dollar terms from the year 2000. In 1914, an assembly line worker could buy a Model T with four months' pay.

Assembly lines also decreased the number of accidents in work places. Assigning each worker to a specific location instead of allowing them to roam about dramatically reduced the rate of injury. The gains in productivity allowed companies to increase worker pay from 1.50 USD per day to 5.00 USD per day.

Industry 3.0 - Third Industrial Revolution

More automated production using electronics and information technologies.

Production automation carried further with the third industrial revolution; computer controlled production enabled more sensitive, more efficient and more standardized production.

The term “automation” was not commonly in use since Ford decided to establish an in-house automation department in 1947. Automation mainly brings different devices and interfaces together like mechanics, hydraulics, pneumatics, electricity, electronics and computers.

The earliest feedback control mechanism was the thermostat invented in 1620 by the Dutch scientist Cornelius Drebbel. Modern industrial automation begins with the use of PLCs (programmable logic controllers).

Modicon 084 PLC

The first PLC system has invented for American automobile manufacturers in 1960s. PLCs were designed to replace relay logic systems, thus software replacing hardware helped to implement changes in production plans quickly. The first PLC unit, Modicon 084 was designed by Bedford Associates as an electronic replacement for hard-wired relay systems for General Motors. Before PLC systems, production was controlled by relays, timers and closed circuit controllers. Number of devices used per assembly line were identified in hundreds even thousands in some cases. As a result, updating and upgrading these systems were quite expensive and inconvenient.

Industry 4.0 - Fourth Industrial Revolution

Production based on cyber physical systems.

Industry 4.0, Industrie 4.0 or fourth industrial revolution in another saying. It first appeared at Hannover Exhibition in 2011; today the term is commonly used for defining automation and data sharing trends like cyber-physical systems, Internet of things and cloud computing.

Predicted by the experts that cloud computing, Internet of things (IoT), real-time sensor and reaction technologies, cloud based services, big data analytics, robots, artificial intelligence, 3D printers and many other new technologies will be shaping the future of production and services.

Industry 4.0 mainly targets combining information technologies with the industry. New age, low-cost, energy saver, high efficiency equipments share data through operating systems and software that can communicate with each other; cyber-physical systems with the Internet connectivity are built in this way. Also targeting cost and time saving by advanced virtual reality, augmented reality, modelling and simulation infrastructures. Virtual factories will be also added to these virtual reality applications in the near future. Test production for new products and feasibility projects can be made on these virtual factories, thus potential problems can be identified way before building the factory.

Besides virtual factories, machinery used in the production can communicate with each other through the Internet, make necessary analysis in breakdowns and repair themselves or optimize production by real-time analysis of production line data and deciding on several parameters.

Industrial revolutions did not just change the production methods, also affected communities and social life throughout its history. Each revolution decreased the need of human power, brought out new businesses and increased the need of information. In the future, physical need of human power will probably be decreasing and new professions which do not exist today will be showing up.