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.”
A provocative book "Building a Bridge to the 18th Century" by Neil Postman offers interesting ideas here. We cannot evaluate technology by listening to technologists alone. We need poets and artists to remind us what we are. The Internet of Things and of people can lead to saving our environment and making life easier; but it can also lead to a mobocracy in which all people act upon the same information and sign the same online petitions and become like the Borg of Star Trek Voyager. Postman claims that childhood is not a biological condition but was an invention of the 18th century, giving young people a time to prepare for life. Our internet and media give children access to the same content as adults, thus, we have returned to the 16th century when Pieter Bruegel's paintings showed children immersed in the same sights and experience of their elders.
Some posts state that we have plenty of oil and gas for generations. The key question is: Do we have enough oxygen in the air to burn it?
Let's not use technology and business needs to evaluate technology and business.
Thanks bobjengr. I agree about manned spaceflight. I didn't realize untill years after it ended that manned spaceflights were essentially Cold War efforts. Without the Cold War, we can't seem to get sufficient budgets and enthusiasm behind it.
However, it's encouraging to see activity on the edges. Developing 3D printing for zero gravity and drawing out the plans for creating roads and structures on the moon using robots and moondust are good developments. Build it and they will come.
I personally think revolution might be a bit too much but certainly there is an evolution of technology that can and will advance positions for many disciplines. One thing, and I may need correction here, we always seem to note "revolutions" by looking in our rear view mirror. It's very difficult for me to assess exactly when revolutionary events, specifically in technology, initially occur. No doubt the printing press, no doubt the invention of "solid state chips", no doubt the internet BUT, we look back to define the who, when and where of these marvelous improvements driving technology and society. I don't want to get political here but one huge step backward was abdication of our hard-fought position in manned space exploration. Let's hope the future will not find us relinquishing promising technology simply because we were too busy watching "Dancing With the Stars" or hour upon hour of involvement with Face Book. Just a thought. EXCELLENT POST ROB !!!!!!!
I'm surprised at the wide range of views on Dr. T.'s claim of an industry 4.0. (Actually he was quoting from a German take of new technology.) Apparently not everyone sees recent developments as particularly new.
Jerry. As long as you have cities, you will need middlemen and the means to distribute. Example, food. Can't grow enough in the city and its cheaper to process the food close to where it is grown. That would save on fuel, but not eliminate transport to get it to the end user. If we all abandon the city model and live out in the boonies, then we can grow our own food or join community farms. But living rurally is inefficient, requires more transportation fuel and individual vehicles.
We have not reached the end of our oil reserves. Plenty more out there though not forever.
If you can wait or live long enough, fusion power will provide the almost unlimited energy revolution for yet another epic change. But in this case I'd classify it as an evolutionary change. I still contend the ability for almost any individual to publish one's thoughts, to share one's dreams with everone else on the planet, or in this case here a specialized group, is much more than evolutionary. Cheaply networking everything at the speed of light is a huge game changer.
It will have a part in the real next revolution, information, networking, advertizing direct, which is local manufacturing of nearly everything with direct selling thus all the profit goes to the makes and not all the distribution parasites.
The other big deal is the end of the oil, coal era is very near with less than 10yrs for oil and 25 yrs for world coal will be so expensive to burn as little left after 5B new customers becoming first worls from the third world as they become educated.
And local production of energy, fuels from wastes, biomass, solar, wind, etc. But add food, housing, transport vehicles especially lightweight EV's and many other things too will leave big business and their high costs behind.
Those are far more disruptive, new era than expended cloud computing, etc which we really already have. Just doing the same slightly differently, faster is hardly a game changer.
I respectfully disagree. The printing press was an evolutionary change compared to monks hand writing manuscripts or scribes copying the Old testament on animal skin, something still done today, I might add. And computers gave us the evolutionary tool of the word processor, something I would have killed for in college.
But its been the Internet and on line apps such as blogs and list serve's that have enabled anyone to be a publisher, movie producer or to be heard by thousands of others across this planet. The printing press was evolutionary. The Internet IS revolutionary. Networking in almost real time across the globe from your home or from the palm of your hand while on the run is far more than an evolutionary change for both human and machine behavior.
We are still at the beginning of how this huge connectivity shift will impact on ourselves, impact the way we do business (commerce) and impact the way we create build and manufacture.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.