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Industry 5.0: building a more sustainable human-centric and ethical industry

This Industry 5.0 series dives into the principal characteristics of Industry 5.0, its benefits, and how it changes the present paradigm of emphasis on technology.

Sofia Gonçalves
Industry 5.0: building a more sustainable human-centric and ethical industry

Throughout history, human beings have recognized the potential of technology as a means of progress. A new and improved version of industry 4.0, industry 5.0 has been promoted as a model that will bring businesses further prosperity and competitiveness while promoting a human-centric economic model. This Industry 5.0 series dives into the principal characteristics of Industry 5.0, its benefits, and how it changes the present paradigm of emphasis on technology.

A brief history of the industries

Many advancements have taken place during the past few centuries, made possible by the industrial revolutions. These include steam machines, assembly lines, and computers that have made technology more powerful and more productive, and have brought better life quality. Before diving into industry 5.0, let’s get a better understanding of the previous industrial revolutions.

In the first industrial revolution, in the 18th century, steam power was used to power machinery and mechanized production. Even though steam power had been around for a long time, its application for industrial purposes was the greatest breakthrough for increasing human productivity, as weaving looms could be powered by steam engines instead of muscle power. 

Assemblage line production and the discovery of electricity marked the beginning of the second industrial revolution. Henry Ford introduced the idea of mass production and carried over these principles into automobile production. Now, rather than producing an entire automobile in one station, vehicles are made in partial steps on conveyor belts - significantly faster and with a lower cost.

The third industrial revolution took place in the ’70s, with memory-programmable controls and the emergence of the first computers. With this new technology, we were able to get a full production process automated, without the assistance of people, like programmed robots that perform continuous and sequenced activities without human intervention.

We are currently experiencing and implementing the fourth industrial revolution. Also known as industry 4.0, it is characterized by the application of information and communication technologies for industry, such as the internet of things (IoT) and machine-to-machine learning, used to improve automation and communication. These innovations allowed manufacturers to improve their processes, reducing production costs, logistics, and quality management.

What is Industry 5.0

Industry 5.0 is a concept of human-robot interaction, collaboration, and long-term sustainability. It is a method of utilizing smart manufacturing, automation, and robots to benefit not just the industry, but also the employees and society in general, and it is distinguished by a sense of purpose that extends beyond the production of things for profit.

The three core principles of Industry 5.0 are human-centricity, sustainability, and resilience.

Three principles of Industry 5.0


The human-centric approach places essential human needs and interests at the center of the manufacturing process, drifting away from a digital-driven development and toward a more human-centric and society-centric approach. People and societies are served by technology, which means that technology is employed to help people and society.


Sustainability refers to the necessity for the implementation of circular processes that enable the re-use, repurposing, and recycling of natural resources, reducing waste and environmental damage. For companies to survive in the next generations, they have to adopt green solutions.


The third pillar is resilience, which refers to the requirement for improved production and supply chain robustness, making it more resistant to interruptions and guaranteeing that key infrastructure can be provided and supported in times of crisis.

What's different in Industry 5.0?

Industry 5.0 introduces the shift from robots to cobots, where robots work together with humans, who are the center of the process. With the help of robots, humans can delegate difficult tasks and concentrate on the bigger picture.

It's necessary to emphasize that Industry 5.0 should not be considered as a replacement for the present Industry 4.0 paradigm. Industry 4.0 and 5.0 both address basic considerations, like digital transformation, enabling a connected process of the supply chain, manufacturers, and other stakeholders to ensure quality, product availability, customization of products, and sustainable processes; or even digital twins, that are digital representations of real objects. 

With Industry 5.0, it is possible to reduce job risk by transferring these difficult and dangerous tasks to AI and machine learning, contrasting with previous paradigms, enabling workers to focus on more productive tasks.

The benefits of Industry 5.0 

There are many benefits that accompany the emergence of the 5.0 industry, which show the relevance and importance of this new paradigm.

Cost reduction

The pursuit for business models that use the fewest resources to generate the greatest profits finds its peak in Industry 5.0, as humans and machines collaborate to generate the optimal financial decisions for an organization. With better-interconnected systems, manufacturers can cut in manufacturing costs, and become more competitive. 

Sustainable solutions

In contrast to other industrial transformations, Industry 5.0 places the protection of the environment as a priority. Manufacturers can focus on environmentally friendly solutions, tackling climate change. Companies like PlatformE are on the wave of evolution, creating sustainable production processes and generating as little waste as possible.

Mass customization and personalization

Industry 5.0 is expanding the collaboration between humans and robots, as a response to increased customization in products. While Industry 4.0 created the groundwork for product personalization and customization, Industry 5.0 promises mass customization at scale.

Mass customization offers customers the opportunity to create their own unique product, choosing from a wide range of patterns, colors, and fabrics, which results in better customer engagement and satisfaction. Like other existing companies, PlatformE opens the door for brands to create an engaging customization experience and deliver personalized and exclusive goods. 

With the recent spate of the industrial revolution, there seems to be no question that the organizations that embrace change and are capable of adapting will survive and grow. The digital revolution has served to cement technology's place at the core of 21st-century production, and automated technology's ultra-fast accuracy is proving to be a potent force and a valuable asset. But it's also obvious that individuals, personalization and customization, and the human touch will continue to play a vital role.

Read more: Industry 5.0: How the mass customization era can be the solution for overproduction