Specialty Fabrics Review May 2019 - 60

FOCUS

BUSINESS

Reprinted with
permission of Steiger
Participations SA,
Vionnaz, Switzerland.

Ready for the
new digital future?
Industrial Revolution 4.0 is here.
BY CONNIE HUFFA

Pros and Cons
of Industry 4.0
PROS
*Small makers can compete
effectively, leveraging online
marketing and selling platforms,
and using WYSIWYG machine
builder software.
*More transparency of supply chain
and flow of materials, tracking
materials, processes, products
and performance in real time.
*Automation minimizes defects
from human error; optimization
of operations to cut costs and
improve efficiency.
CONS
*Designs need to fit
WYSIWYG parameters.
*Digitalizing opens vulnerabilities
to unauthorized access.
*Companies may lose control
of data and trade secrets as
information is exchanged.

60 REVIEW MAY 2019

H

umans were born to learn and innovate. By nature, we constantly define, measure,
analyze, improve and control our environments. Whether we know it or not, by
wanting the latest and greatest we are changing not only how we make and buy
things, but how we communicate our wants and needs.
To explain the next industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), let's look at how the first three
industrial revolutions changed our world by democratizing manufacturing, transportation,
communication and consumerism, while also killing-and creating-jobs.
THE FIRST INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
In the 18th and 19th centuries, there was a shift from an agrarian economy to an industrial and
urban way of life. Iron and textile industries grew with coal- and steam-powering factories.
Cotton was king. Charles Darwin's "survival of the fittest" suggested that the basis for organic
evolution meant being "better designed for an immediate, local environment." He surmised
that DNA, the software of life, was adaptable and open to even the slightest change. One
of the most common adaptations of an organism is symbiosis-when two organisms work
together to better adapt to an environment. This means cooperation, not strength, is arguably
the most "fit" of all traits for success. So, too, for humans and machines.
THE SECOND INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
From about 1873 to right before WWI, adding electricity, steel and oil to manufacturing
eliminated redundant tasks, such as the need for an individual weaver or knitter at each
machine. Production became more consistent and repeatable as telephone communication,
mass production and power-driven machines made it easier to measure productivity, control
the manufacturing process and set best practices. A lot of weavers and knitters were out of
day jobs, but electric lighting made shift work possible.
The first two industrial revolutions transferred populations and wealth from rural, local
cottage industries to big cities. At the same time that farming equipment improved and farm
jobs decreased, the city factories added jobs at an exponentially faster rate than farming lost
them. Expensive items, once reserved for the elite, became more affordable and spread farther
and faster than ever before.



Specialty Fabrics Review May 2019

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