From Hammerstones to AI

Tools have changed dramatically over the years. The better tools we have, the greater the impact on our lives. When all we had were hand tools, all we had were craftsmen. Now, with factory robots, industrial machines, motion control, and automation, we have mass production and modern manufacturing. While our tools may look different, maintaining our tools has always been, and will always be, essential.

Humans first started using stone tools at least 3 million years ago. We used hammerstones to strike stone cores, which we would fashion into knives, blades, axes, and other tools. The process was crude and time-consuming, and the results varied greatly.

As time went on we started casting tools out of metals and alloys. Bronze was the first tool alloy, and we eventually started using steel. We’ve continued tinkering with different alloys using different elements and ratios of elements to produce materials with different strengths, weights, and other desirable properties designed for specific applications.

The 1800s brought us the claw hammer and the pipe wrench, and we’ve had a modern hand tool for pretty much every task for centuries. We have gas-powered chain saws, mobile saw mills, power tools, and even tools designed to be used by astronauts who work in space.

Machines really shook up manufacturing at the turn of the 19th century. Industrial automation turned manufacturing on its ear. The first industrial robot was invented in 1954, and in operation in a General Motors assembly line by 1961. You couldn’t have modern manufacturing without industrial automation.

Humans have been improving tools since we first started using them 3 million years ago. The only difference is that now our tools aren’t just physical. Today, artificial intelligence is one of the most advanced tools at our disposal. We’re still working on it, honing it, and trying to make it serve us better. We use AI in manufacturing, as well as our everyday lives.

The tools that we use have changed considerably throughout time. We can expect them to continue to change in the future, and possibly in ways we can’t even fathom. Early humans didn’t sit there knapping stone tools thinking of the day that they could just push a button and watch the CNC machine flawlessly produce what they were making in a fraction of the time.

Regardless of how tools have changed, or how they will continue to change, one thing remains constant. You have to take care of your tools if you want them to work. Call 479-422-0390 for Indramat support, maintenance, repair, service, or inspection.