What is Exponential Industry?

The Exponential Industry blog and newsletter covers the next wave of innovation within heavy industry, manufacturing, and supply chains as part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0.

The Industry 4.0 trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies is well underway but many questions of what is possible still persist. This newsletter seeks to build community across engineers, managers, and observers innovating within industry through weekly coverage of the latest in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), additive manufacturing, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), robotics, the industrial metaverse and more!

Why ‘Exponential’ Industry?

For most of the last 50 years, US manufacturing productivity, the increase of production of goods with relatively fewer inputs, has increased at an exponential rate. This phenomenon is prominent throughout the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, the period is commonly referred to as the Third Industrial Revolution. It was marked by the adoption of transformative technologies such as general purpose computers, microelectronics (PLCs, microcontrollers, etc.), telecommunications, and robotics that brought high-level automation to industry. Following the Global Financial Crisis in 2010, manufacturing productivity within the US has leveled off. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and many others have studied this great stagnation in comprehensive detail. The way forward is uncertain, but there is hope that many emerging technologies will return us to these exponential productivity gains that go back to the First Industrial Revolution starting in the late 1700s.

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