"Although crude by today's standards, the myomer bundles and actuators developed in 2350 paved the way for the creation of the IndustrialMech (or WorkMech, as it was often called in the twenty-fourth century). A key technology in the transformation of colony worlds critically short of skilled labor, the IndustrialMech served as an invaluable "force multiplier". As the technology was refined, it was inevitable that the military would also show an interest. IndustrialMechs had served the Hegemony Armed Forces in a rear-area support role almost since their inception, but in 2439 Hegemony scientists finally perfected the first true BattleMech (though primitive by the standards of the modern 'Mechs that began appearing by 2470) – the Mackie. For the next three hundred years the BattleMech overshadowed its civilian brother but, in truth, records indicate that IndustrialMechs outnumbered their martial brethren by at least twenty to one.
"As bad as the technological and industrial losses of the Succession Wars were for BattleMechs, they proved even more devastating for IndustrialMechs. The unceasing demand for spare parts forced the Successor States to divert their dwindling manufacturing capacity to support their armies. When even this proved insufficient, the Inner Sphere began to strip IndustrialMechs for parts. Some desperate attempts were made to press IndustrialMechs into service on the battlefield, but these were invariably unmitigated disasters. By the end of the Third Succession War, the IndustrialMech had become almost as rare as the BattleMech.
"The technological renaissance that followed the recovery of an intact Star League memory core was initially focused on updating military equipment. Following the Truce of Tukayyid, some of the recovered technology began to filter down to the civilian sector. While many of the established BattleMech producers were slow to act, a host of smaller firms have stepped in to fill demand in this growing market.
IndustrialMechs, or WorkMechs, are 'Mechs that are used for industrial purposes (hence the name). They are similar in shape to BattleMechs, which they predated, but are built for non-combat tasks related to primary industry. Instead of a fusion engine, they have an internal combustion engine which is less efficient. However, this reduced power is sufficient for a WorkMech's role. Known WorkMechs are the ForestryMech, the AgroMech, the CargoMech, the MiningMech, the LoaderMech, the ConstructionMech and the SalvageMech.
WorkMechs have been used in a military fashion, usually after some third-party modifications. For example, a ForestryMech will have it's manipulative arm replaced with an autocannon (as stated by Ghost Knight Mason Dunne in the MechWarrior novel Ghost War). Even with these additions, WorkMechs are less effective than a BattleMech of the same tonnage.
The Jade Phoenix Trilogy had, as one character called it, an "AgriBot", but the description and illustration showed it as a quadruped machine. It is possible that this is a WorkMech. The Dark Age storyline showcases a significant number of WorkMechs, often in combat roles, but also in their industrial role.
 See Also
- ↑ Technical Readout: Vehicle Annex, p. 198