Before the Industrial Revolution, most products were handmade using human labor and simple tools. This process took a long time. With the development of new technologies think steam engines to start companies could use machines in the manufacturing process. The result? Larger quantities of products at lower costs.

Today, manufacturing converting raw materials into something with a greater use or value is a huge driver of the global economy. Adding simple efficiencies to the workstream further increases value by making more goods with fewer materials or fewer worker hours. And as companies finish more products at a faster rate, there’s added profit across the business chain.

Industrial Revolutions over Time

1700-1800s
Mechanization, steam power, iron production, textile industry, mining and metallurgy, and new manufacturing.

1800-1900s
Mass production, electrical energy, assembly line and broad adoption of the telegraph, gas and water supply.

1960-2000s
Automation, computers, electronics, internet, digital manufacturing, robotics, digital networks and digital machines.

Today
Cyber physical systems, Internet of Things, networks, autonomous machines, big data, cloud computing, system integration, smart factories, machine learning and artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, augmented reality, and advanced robotics.

Manufacturing is key to how we live. It’s critical for the everyday items we interact with, rely on, enjoy and consume.

Making computer chips requires one of the most complex manufacturing processes humans have devised. Engineers and scientists have continually faced then overcome challenges posed by the physics of squeezing billions of microscopic transistors onto ever-smaller computer chips. Delivering on this promise requires a massive global team, world-class factory infrastructure and a robust supply chain ecosystem.

The skills required to operate machines and develop manufacturing processes have drastically changed over time. Many low-skill manufacturing jobs have shifted from developed to developing countries, where labor tends to be less expensive. High-end products that require precision and skilled manufacturing are typically produced in developed economies.

Computers and precision electronic equipment allow companies to pioneer high-tech manufacturing methods. Products made using these methods require more specialized labor and higher capital investment, typically leading to a higher price tag.

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