From the Cotton Gin to the Smart Factory—and Beyond.

As we enter this New Year, it’s helpful to reflect on just how far manufacturing has progressed, as well as on the exciting “evolution” that continues to unfold. Here’s a look back and ahead:

Industry 1.0

As humankind discovered how to harness water and steam power, the transition from an agrarian society to an industrial one took off. Beginning in 1784, the Industrial Revolution—or Industry 1.0—heralded in phenomenal advancements in:

  • Manufacturing (cotton gin)
  • Transportation (railroad)
  • Communication (telegraph)
  • Energy sources (coal)
  • Raw materials (steel)

Goods that had once been painstakingly made by hand were now produced in mass quantities. Machines eliminated jobs while creating new opportunities.

Industry 2.0

By 1870, electricity replaced steam and water as a source of power. Spanning almost a full century, Industry 2.0 saw the invention of the elevator and steel mills, which led to the first skyscrapers. During World War I, advancements were made in plastics and computers. And, it was during this period that Müller Martini introduced the JG Standard saddle stitcher in 1954.

Industry 3.0

If Industry 1.0 was the Industrial Revolution, and Industry 2.0 was the Technological Revolution, then Industry 3.0 marked the Industrial Evolution: widespread adoption of computer-aided machines. More and more, companies moved away from analog technology and began to rely on digital systems. This holds true for Müller Martini. From 1954 to 2011, Müller Martini advanced their saddle stitching technology with 31 variations, starting with an all-mechanical machine to an auto-assist and then a fully automated saddle stitcher.

Industry 4.0

Today, manufacturing processes are driven by smart technology where machines communicate with each other in order to increase automation, improve communication, and analyze data—all without the need for human intervention. These efficiencies form the basis of Muller Martini’s Finishing 4.0.

Finishing 4.0 represents a strategic, engineering and design ideology that provides a framework for helping printers achieve efficient end-to-end finishing of complex and highly variable print product, independent of whether that product has been printed traditionally, digitally, or in combination. Its pillars are:

  • Automation
  • Connectivity
  • Variability
  • Touchless workflow

As the publishing industry continues to advance “On Demand” product within mass production, these pillars allow Müller Martini to be nimble in our response. With the rise of smart manufacturing factories, Müller Martini is providing a cyber-physical ecosystem, allowing interlink between the physical and digital processes. The smart factory allows the needed information to be processed from the beginning steps to the finishing steps. Müller Martini’s control platforms, along with our Connex workflow system, permit such information to be received and sent to and from other interlinked equipment. The interlinked equipment has the capabilities to produce orders for large amounts to books, or books of one, without stopping.

What can we expect from Industry 5.0?

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, man and machine have had an evolving partnership. So what can we expect from Industry 5.0? Projections point to continued emphasis on the transformation of factories into “Internet of Things”-enabled smart facilities. We also expect that Industry 5.0 will focus on the return of human hands and minds into the industrial framework. Man and machine will reconcile and find ways to work together to improve the means and efficiency of production.

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