July 3, 2014
A fourth industrial revolution? The future of engineering and manufacturing.
An interesting article in The Sunday Times cited how we could soon be seeing the start of what is being heralded as "the fourth industrial revolution". Throughout history many notable figures have been credited for previous revolutions. James Watt made improvements to the steam engine in the latter part of the 18th century. Henry Ford made history with his assembly line in 1913 which was then improved upon further in the 1970s with the introduction of computers into production and automated assembly lines were born. The next revolution will allow significant production improvements with machinery and products now able to communicate with each other, either directly or wirelessly through the cloud. These ‘smart’ products could potentially raise the level of British manufacturing by as much as 22%. The skills required to power this change of focus will be significantly different to the ones currently sought in manufacture. Despite the technological advances, the right personnel, will as ever, be fundamental to the success of this next phase.