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The New Industrial Revolution

The New Industrial Revolution

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    The New Industrial Revolution
    Book Description:

    The rapid emergence of China and India as prime locations for low-cost manufacturing has led some analysts to conclude that manufacturers in the "old economies"-the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Japan-are being edged out of a profitable future. But if countries that historically have been at the forefront of events in manufacturing can adapt adroitly, opportunities are by no means over, says the author of this timely book. Peter Marsh explores 250 years in the history of manufacturing, then examines the characteristics of the industrial revolution that is taking place right now.

    The driving forces that influence what types of goods are made and who makes them are little understood, Marsh observes. He discusses the key changes in what is happening in manufacturing today, including advances in technology, a greater focus on tailor-made goods aimed at specific individuals and industry users, participation of many more countries in world manufacturing, and the growing importance of sustainable forms of production. With broad historical sweep and dozens of engaging examples, Marsh explains these changes and their import both for consumers making purchase choices and for manufacturers assessing how to participate successfully in the new industrial era.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-19174-5
    Subjects: Business, Economics, Political Science, Marketing & Advertising

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of figures
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Peter Marsh
  5. CHAPTER 1 The growth machine
    (pp. 1-20)

    So wrote Rudyard Kipling, the celebrated English writer who – for much of his life – lived in the home of a seventeenth-century ironmaster. Kipling’s words are as true today as they were when he was at the peak of his fame in the early 1900s and became the youngest ever person to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. Since the beginning of civilization to 2011, the human race has created goods containing about 43 billion tonnes of iron.² Of this huge amount of metal, which has ended up in products from nuclear reactors to children’s toys, almost half has...

  6. CHAPTER 2 The power of technology
    (pp. 21-41)

    In 1685, Louis XIV – the Sun King – granted permission to the Marquis Charles Henri Gaspard de Lénoncourt to construct an ironworks at Dillingen, a village near Saarlouis in what was then a corner of eastern France.¹ The plant produced raw iron together with finished products such as ovens and chimney plates – and also small amounts of steel, made in a labour-intensive refining process. Over the following century, the works gradually improved its technology, in particular with the introduction of better methods to specify the mix of iron and carbon in steel to improve quality.

    In the late...

  7. CHAPTER 3 The spice of life
    (pp. 42-63)

    According to the Roman historian Pliny, glass was discovered by accident around 5000 bce. In Pliny’s account, Phoenician sailors, resting on a sandy beach in Syria, lit a fire to cook their food. To support their cooking pots, they used part of their cargo, which included blocks of soda (sodium carbonate), a common chemical used as a form of soap and for cooking. Once the fire was established, the soda melted, and became mixed with sand (silicon dioxide). The viscous liquid that resulted later cooled into a translucent, solid state: the first man-made glass. While most solids have molecules arranged...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Free association
    (pp. 64-91)

    Poole on England’s rural southern coast boasts a balmy climate and a scenic natural harbour. A less well-known fact about this small town is that it is an important centre in the global electronics industry. Separated by a 20-minute taxi ride are the headquarters of two companies – Westwind and Air Bearings – that are the world’s biggest producers of devices called air-bearing spindles, or ‘air spindles’. An air spindle is a small electric motor, whose shaft rotates on what is called an air bearing. An air bearing is essentially a thin film of compressed air. A typical airbearing spindle...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Niche thinking
    (pp. 92-118)

    In 2010, Panasonic, the Japanese electronics company, unveiled a giant 152-inch flat-screen television. With a screen bigger than a king-size mattress, it was still thin enough to hang on a wall. A few years earlier, such a product would have been hard to imagine. But television technology has changed. Products built around bulbous cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) are rapidly disappearing, and being replaced by sleek products just a few inches thick. Nearly all the thin screens use liquid-crystal displays (LCDs), based on small ‘pixel elements’ formed from specialized chemicals. Flat screens have also almost completely replaced CRTs in the displays used...

  10. CHAPTER 6 The environmental imperative
    (pp. 119-142)

    Football supporters are not normally regarded as being ecological warriors. But a few months before the 2010 World Cup kicked off in South Africa, lovers of the game were given the chance to do their bit – albeit in a modest fashion – for the environment. The US company Nike – the world’s biggest maker of sporting goods – unveiled a special range of 1.5 million football shirts made from 3 million plastic drinks bottles that would otherwise have been thrown away. The initiative saved the company from having to buy 250 tonnes of polyester from chemical suppliers. Some of...

  11. CHAPTER 7 China rising
    (pp. 143-163)

    An advocate of all kinds of industrial expansion, Mao Zedong was especially keen on steel production, a business he considered vital to a nation’s economic strength. Anshan, an industrial city in Liaoning province in north-east China, is a place that Mao would have liked to visit. The city boasts several freshwater pools fed by hot springs, where the Chinese leader could have indulged his love of swimming. But Anshan’s pride is the sprawling flagship plant of Anshan Iron & Steel, a state-owned company that in 2010 produced 21 million tonnes of steel. Better known as Ansteel, the company was in 2010...

  12. CHAPTER 8 Crowd collusion
    (pp. 164-187)

    Warsaw is a small town in Indiana that acquired its name in the 1830s, a result of the popularity of Poland in America at that time. The interest was almost totally due to Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a Polish-American engineer and political activist. Kosciuszko moved to the US from Poland in 1776, the year of the American declaration of independence. He felt inspired to offer his service to the US ‘rebels’ who were fighting Britain. Commissioned as a colonel of engineers by George Washington, Kosciuszko’s talents lay in constructing military garrisons. He was responsible for improving the defences of the West Point...

  13. CHAPTER 9 Future factories
    (pp. 188-213)

    Anil Jain is managing director and part-owner of Jain Irrigation Systems (JIS), a company based in India that is the world’s second biggest maker of micro irrigation equipment. Micro irrigation – also called drip irrigation – is an embellishment of the techniques for using water to improve crop yields that have existed for thousands of years. It requires technologies in fields such as pumps, control systems and filters, supported by know-how related to specific types of crop. ‘We are putting product engineering together with agricultural science,’ says Jain.¹ Nearly three-quarters of global water consumption is used in agriculture. The big...

  14. CHAPTER 10 The new industrial revolution
    (pp. 214-247)

    Since manufacturing started in its modern form in the late eighteenth century, four big periods of change have had an impact. The new industrial revolution will be the fifth. It started around 2005, and will last until about 2040, though it may be the end of the century before the changes have their full effect. Most of its important elements are related to previous eras of change. It would be hard to describe many of these individual features as completely new. The impact will come from these factors taking effect at the same time, and the way they interact. There...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 248-277)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 278-294)
  17. Index
    (pp. 295-312)