Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution, has arrived, according to Dr. James Truchard -- often known as Dr. T -- the CEO and president of National Instruments.
Truchard kicked off NIWeek in Austin this week with a keynote address that pointed to a new industrial revolution with the key component of cyber physical systems (CPS) that include everything from computation to communication. “We’re seeing it in the smart grid, in graphical system design, and in manufacturing,” Truchard told Design News.
In describing the four industrial revolutions, Truchard noted that the first involved water and steam. The second introduced electrical power and mass production. The third involved electronics and IT automation. The new industrial revolution includes cloud computing, industrial Ethernet, advanced measurement and control in one platform, and the analysis of big-data, which uses data in a more integrated way.
As an example for Industry 4.0 in manufacturing, Truchard pointed to Tesla Motors. “They’re doing a lot of bleeding-edge manufacturing,” he told us. “They’re doing more than any other automotive company. German manufacturers are also doing a lot of manufacturing with new technology.”
Truchard dates the beginning of Industry 4.0 to the mid 2000s. He noted that National Instruments began introducing advanced technology systems that included the characteristics of Industry 4.0 in 2004, followed by additional new products in 2006.
Truchard explained that the hallmarks of the fourth industrial revolution include the Internet of Things, robotic rehabilitation, sensors everywhere, and rapid control prototyping. “We’re seeing a programmable world,” he said, “where the new technology brings together computation, control, and communication.”
Truchard’s Keynote address is available on the National Instruments website.