Lowell Lecture

Mill Talk: "What is Industry 4.0 and How Did We Get Here?"

Date & Time

March 4, 2020


Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation
Located in the Historic Francis Cabot Lowell Mill
Park in the Embassy Theatre Lot — GPS "42 Cooper Street, Waltham"
154 Moody Street Waltham, MA 02453
Driving Directions


Professor Hardt is an expert in system dynamics, control and manufacturing processes. He is the Ralph E. and Eloise F. Cross Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. His process control research has centered on a variety of processes from welding and sheet metal forming to micro-embossing and most recently continuous soft-lithography.

Professor Hardt has served as the Director of the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity, Engineering Co-Director of the MIT Leaders for Manufacturing.

Presenting Organization

Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation


Current Affairs


Bob Perry (director@charlesrivermuseum.org, 7818935410)

The evolution of technology, the workplace, and the nature of educational needs supporting the current phase of the American Industrial Revolution.

Ask any manufacturing company today about what the future holds, and likely the answer will be some form of “Industry 4.0”. Some even call it the “4th Industrial Revolution.” But what do these labels mean, and what about 3.0, 2.0 and 1.0? Does manufacturing progress in such big steps?

By looking at the long sweep of manufacturing history (and personal experience over the past 4 decades) we see both a continuous evolution of technology and a set of “principles of manufacturing”. These principles, which are drawn from the unique requirements of manufacturing, are universal and unchanging. This implies that Industry 4.0 is simply a moment in time along this trajectory, and one that continues to advance manufacturing to an ever more complex technical system, but one that still is based on these principles.

In this talk the state of manufacturing technology will be examined along with how that technology affects the workforce. The conclusion is that world class manufacturing has and will always require mastering the necessary technologies in the context of the underlying fundamentals and that education at all levels of the enterprise must include both.