Steam power cause Industry 1.0, what power promote Industry 4.0?

National Taiwan University - Taipei

Semiconductor industry supported the upcoming industry 4.0, just like the steam power supported industry 1.0. All of our prediction should be based on the elementary technology continousely growing. Moore’s law show us the computing ability now allowed IoT and AI to explode.


The increasing use of steam power causes the industrial revolutioin, what kind of power causes the happening industry 4.0? In 1971, Intel release the first commercial microprocessor chip called “4004”with 2,300 transistors on it. Nowadays, there are around 7 billion transistors on an Iphone A12 IC chip. Never an industry can grow up 3 million times within 50 years but semiconductor manufacturing. As the growing of semiconductor technology, that means IC can work with a smaller size, higher computing rate and lower power consumption.

According to wikipedia, industry 4.0 has these several senarios: Interconnection(IoT), Information transparently, Technical assistance(AI), Decentralized decisions. All the mentioned senarios is based on the same thing—computing ability, and computing ability is based on the physical structure of IC—semiconductor technology. Therefore, with the comprehension of semiconductor technology we can make better prediction of the trend of industry 4.0.



Trends in Industry 4.0

Moore’s Law: The history of semiconductor technology

Moore’s law is first proposed by professor Gordon Moore in 1975, his prediction greatly affect the semiconductor R&D world. After, the whole semiconductor industry followed the Moore’s Law.

Moore’s Law:

  1. die sizes were increasing 2x every 18 month
  2. chip manufacturers could work with larger areas

The strong increasing of device number is actually the engine of industry 4.0.

The physical limit which affects computing ability

Moore’s Law is based on the knowledge of micorelectronics circuit. If the gate length approach 1nm, quantum tunnelling effect would happen. While physical limits to transistor scaling such as source-to-drain leakage, limited gate metals, and limited options for channel material have been reached.

So the Al developing prediction on increasing of computing ability in these years is not so much believeable as the physical limit occur. The growing of computing ability will slow down in the next 10 years because the strong engine of industry 4.0 would be no more reliable.

How new products appear when Industry 4.0 era come

The two main branches of industry 4.0

  1. Low power IoT device and smart device (branch of low power device)
  2. AI and the usage of giant information (branch of extra high computing rate)

The low power device branch will come faster compare to the high computing rate branch because of the cost and the customer. Every generation of industry is supported by the huge economic profit, there is not a rapid business model for AI branch.

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