Industrial technology is the study and application of science and engineering to develop products, systems and processes. It includes a variety of technical fields, including automation, robotics, and energy efficiency. It also includes human factors, psychology, economics, marketing and design principles.
In the United States, this sector is a major component of the Dow Jones Industrial Index and many other major stock market indexes. The industry comprises a wide range of businesses that manufacture goods and services. It includes industries that produce aerospace, construction, machinery, tools, lumber, waste management and manufactured housing.
The industrial sector is often a source of wealth for large companies and the economy as a whole. Its stocks tend to gain during bull markets, although they can also go through cycles of decline and retraction.
When looking at the sector as a whole, it is important to distinguish between heavy and light industry. Heavy industry involves a capital-intensive production process that requires a large initial investment, such as machinery and equipment. Examples of heavy industry would include most natural resource harvesting sectors, such as steel and coal, as well as other mining-related sectors.
Alternatively, light industry is characterized by production processes that involve less capital and more labor. Examples of light industry would include textile work, food processing, and plastics manufacture.
For the industrial revolution to be successful, it needed a lot of work to replace the skills of skilled artisans with those of mechanical equipment and mass production. This meant that a significant portion of the workforce had to learn new techniques and become used to working under a different system than they had previously worked under.
Workers, especially women and children, had to change the way they viewed their jobs. For example, women who had been in domestic service in their homes were now relegated to factory work and were often paid very little. Their labor was performed in unsanitary conditions and tended to be repetitive.
Another social consequence of industrialization was the emergence of the modern family. The preindustrial family was a closely knit group, usually consisting of a husband and wife and their children. The husband often served as the main provider of income, while the wife and children worked on a piecework basis for a merchant or other business owner in their rural home.
The new industrial systems shifted work away from the individual to the company, and many workers lost their independence as they became dependent on their employer for their livelihoods. These changes reshaped social relationships in ways that were not immediately clear to many people.
As a result, the industrial revolution changed the very nature of labor in America and Europe. Before, most people worked at home, outdoors or in small shops, performing tasks such as crafting raw materials into finished goods. The industrial revolution changed this pattern of work, introducing large factories, which employed a huge number of people in a limited space.
The transition from a traditional agrarian economy to an urban one with its attendant problems was a profound change for millions of people around the world. A major factor in the transition was the use of steam-powered engines and other machinery that facilitated a shift from a slow pace of production to a more fast-paced one. The resulting increase in the rate of production had a dramatic impact on labor’s productivity and the quality of life for millions.