How Can Industrial Technology Be Used for Common Good?

September 26, 2019 • Shannon Flynn


Societies are always looking for ways to create mass-produced products faster. Over time, that need led to the rise of industrial technology. It involves combining engineering and manufacturing technologies to streamline the production process. In turn, the companies using industrial technology often reduce waste or make the labor less intensive for the workers producing the products.

Many people say that industrial technology sparked what’s called the 4th Industrial Revolution. That’s an era in history that allowed producing items on a larger scale than was ever possible before.

So, you might be wondering how can industrial technology used to promote the common good. Let’s take a look.

Making Production More Accessible and Efficient With 3D Printing

3D printing is an emerging technology that has upended the processes people go through to create a wide variety of things. For example, Deloitte believes that people in the commercial real estate (CRE) sector will soon explore what’s possible when applying 3D printing to the industry.

Already, people who apply technology to the property industry — known as PropTech professionals — have made other favorable changes related to things like more organization and transparency in CRE. 3D printing could push things forward even more, particularly if people who need commercial real estate rely on 3D printing.

One recent example happened when a technology company used 3D printing to make a welcome center for what will soon become a community for members of the homeless population in Austin, Texas. Also, a hospital in Jordan is assisting refugees who need prostheses due to complications from the ongoing war in Syria. It relies on 3D printing to design and build the limbs in less than 24 hours.

Another company engineered a way to depend on 3D printing for custom-built wheelchairs. They have seats and foot bays based on the biometrics of individual users. That approach could make the aids maximally comfortable for people who need to use them all the time, or at least for prolonged periods.

As companies investigate new ways to create things with 3D printing, they’ll likely discover options for building things faster for the people who need them most. This could collectively help the common good.

Applying Industrial Technology to Help the Planet

Climate change is a matter that’s often in the headlines and on the minds of concerned citizens. Scientists know that prompt action is necessary to prevent future catastrophes. How can industrial technology be used in that fight?

Firstly, many factories use sensors that tell managers how to reduce resource usage. They could use that information to come up with ways to use less water or energy in production cycles. Those changes could have a positive effect over time, especially if factories learn how to reduce practices that contribute to CO2 emissions.

Industrial technology has also enabled meeting marketplace demands for things that aren’t good for the planet. As a start, plastics and meat production are two things known to have detrimental effects on the Earth’s sustainability. However, among the innovations spurred by industrial technology are options that look like plastic and taste like meat but come about through processes that are better for the Earth.

Plus, environmental technologies have planet-saving effects. Sensors measure things like air pollution or detect water leaks, while drones help monitor wildlife, specifically to curb poaching. We also can’t forget the role of industrial technology in helping renewable energy and fuel-efficient cars progress.

People often forget that the planet is everyone’s responsibility. The improvements made possible by industrial technology help us all play a crucial role in its sustainability.

Depending on Industrial Technology in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

You only need to think about the impacts of vaccines and life-saving prescription drugs to understand how the pharmaceutical industry has played instrumental roles in disease prevention and improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. Another way to think about industrial manufacturing furthering the common good is to apply it to the methods companies use to make drugs.

Technology allows manufacturers to ramp up their production levels without sacrificing quality or safety. Moreover, artificial intelligence (AI) can assist with drug development by helping researchers determine which formulas work best for easing symptoms and treating disorders. It also helps with recruitment for clinical trials.

Some parties in the drug-making industry are also looking at the blockchain to combat the problem of counterfeit medications. Although people originally associated that technology with cryptocurrencies, it has far greater potential.

Using Technology for Positive Impacts

For people who want to know how can industrial technology be used to help people, this is not an all-encompassing overview, of course. But, it provides fascinating examples of how industrial technology supports the common good, and what the future might hold.