The article A Third Industrial Revolution was written in the year 2012. In the article, Paul Markillie, the author provides an intruding view of the future. The author asserts that the future of manufacturing lies in the 3D printing, additive production, and automation (Markillie 2012, p.1). According to the author, these technologies will be adopted in the future by the manufacturing firms.
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In addition, the author postulates that when the technologies come into play a third industrial revolution would be experienced. For instance, the technologies will enable designers and the engineers to design and build products that are currently uneconomical to produce.
Notably, the author argues that when the future industries digitize their operations the world will witness a shift in the manufacturing industries from developing countries to developed countries.
In the article, the author asserts that manufacturing industries are here to stay (Markillie 2012, p.2). However, he suggests that in the future the nature of jobs will change. Markillie points out that prior the year 2010, the United States lose more of its manufacturing jobs to China.
According to him, increase in the cost of operation in the United States led to the reduction in jobs. On the other hand, China benefitted from the shift in labour owing to its low cost of operation in the manufacturing industries and availability of raw materials.
Equally, Markillie suggests that in the future manufacturing industries would shift their bases of operations from developing countries to developed countries. The author attributes this shift to future digitization of manufacturing industries.
According to Markillie, in the near future factories would depend on robots rather human beings for their operations. With the adoption of robots, manufacturing industries would relocate back to their mother countries creating more jobs and opportunities.
If the future manufacturing industries digitize their operations, Markillie assumptions on how manufacturing industries will shift their operations to developed countries might not come into pass. With digitisation of industries, the cost of operation would reduce significantly. This would not only happen in developed countries but across all countries.
It should be noted that advancements in technologies are embraced by all industries regardless of their geographical locations. This implies that with digitization it would be even cheaper to operate a manufacturing industry in China than in the United States. As compared to the United States, China has more readily available raw materials and more personnel that are skilled.
Equally, developing countries in Africa and Asia have more industrial raw materials than the developed countries. With these economic advantages, when manufacturing industries digitize their operations it would be cheaper to operate manufacturing industries in the developing countries rather than in developed countries.
In the article, the author emphasizes on the importance of manufacturing industries to a country’s economy. Although Markillie acknowledges a specific research study that asserted that the service industries are important as the manufacturing industries, he focuses his attention more on manufacturing industries.
Through this, he underestimates the contribution the service industries contribute to the world’s economy. Instead, the author should note that currently service industries contribute equal returns as manufacturing industries. This is evidenced from the world’s top billionaires. Currently, the world’s top billionaires own and operate service industries.
Unlike in the past centuries, service industries have proved to be flexible and lucrative than other industries. For instance, the internet now provides several jobs and opportunities as compared to the manufacturing industries. Therefore, the author should acknowledge the significance of the service industries in the modern world economy rather than undermine it.
In the second part of this article, Markillie focuses on the industrial materials being developed by the scientists. In this section, the author points out how new carbon fibre products, recycling technologies, and casting technologies would improve the future of material science. The author cites Rolls-Royce Company has one of the companies leading in material science researches.
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Markillie suggests that the company’s success is accredited to its ability to house production staff under one roof. By using this illustration, Markillie suggests that the future industries will house their staff under one roof to enhance the understanding of their operations among their staffs. Through this argument, Markillie fails to note that some products cannot be manufactured under one roof.
For instance, automotive and electronic parts are made in different regions and reassembled in specific regions. The author should note that no single country or industry would produce all the required parts necessary for some products (Marchant & Sylvester, 36). Owing to this, countries will continue to manufacture or purchase different parts of their products from different regions.
Similarly, by focusing on production of specific parts industries have been able to concentrate on their area of specialisation. This has not only improved on the quality of their products but also increased their production levels.
Similarly, the author focuses on the advancements in nanotechnology. The author illustrates that in the future the technology will be very helpful in the treatment of fatal diseases such as cancer. Equally, Markillie proposes that with further researches the technology will be fully exploited.
Before concluding his article, Markillie illustrates how 3D printing technologies have led to the production of products that were impossible to produce earlier. During the early days of this technology, 3D printing was only used in the production of prototypes.
However, with technological advances the technology has been adopted in additive manufacturing industries (Herbort & Wöhler 2011, p.5). According to the author, the use of this technology will continue to increase by 80% before the year 2020. The author acknowledges that though the technology is still young, some multinational companies are showing a lot of interest in adopting it.
For instance, the author points out that GE is interested in adopting this technology in all their operations. While illustrating the usage of 3D printers, Markillie states that the printers are expensive to produce and that they will take some time before they are developed in mass production. Other than this disadvantage, the author fails to illustrate other disadvantages of the machine.
For instance, it could be appropriate for him to indicate the cost of maintaining these printers and the cost of hiring its expertise. Based on its complex functionalities, it might prove more difficult for industries to maintain and hire the expertise to operate these printers than producing goods using traditional subtractive methods (Rivers 2005, p.556).
Similarly, the author should have pointed out how intellectual property would be enhanced after the adoption of this technology. Without appropriate measures, the technology would enhance intellectual theft, as anyone can scan a property and later print it without the consent of the owner.
Herbort, S., & Wöhler, C. 2011. An introduction to image-based 3D surface reconstruction and a survey of photometric stereo methods. 3D Research, 2(3), 1-18.
Marchant, G., & Sylvester, D. 2006. Transnational Models for Regulation of Nanotechnology. Social Science Research Network Working Paper Series, 6(2), 12-67.
Markillie, P. 2012, April 21. A Third Industrial Revolution. The Economist. Retrieved from dc.mit.edu/sites/dc.mit.edu/files/Econ%20Special%20 Rpt%20Manufactur.pdf
Rivers, T. 2005. An introduction to the metaphysics of technology. Technology in Society, 27(4), 551-574.