Connecting Humans to the Loop of Digitized Factories’ Automation Systems
Emerging factory digitization, along with the increased automation levels it promotes, represents a unique opportunity that manufacturing enterprises must seize. By distributing once centralized decision-making through an ecosystem of smart factory objects, enterprises will be able to increase their productivity, responsiveness and quality levels. However, for continued effective management, humans must adapt to production systems whose behavior is defined by the interactions that take place between these smart objects and the overall automation layers and automatic control functions. These interactions can occur in different ways across many levels of abstraction and complexity, and across many timescales. As a result, it is extremely hard for humans to preserve reliable mental models and this raises the risk of the out-of-the-loop condition. This paper proposes a human-centered automation framework for improved workers’ well-being, safety and psychological health. Particularly, the dynamic real time interactions among closed loop control functions and human workers are addressed so as to properly include humans in the feedback loops. Experimental cases of the proposed framework application are presented in the white-goods and in the furniture sectors.
KeywordsWorkers well-being Digital factory Adaptive automation Human in the loop
This work has been partly funded by the European Commission through Man-Made (MANufacturing through ergonoMic and safe Anthropocentric aDaptiveworkplacEs for context aware factories in EUROPE) project (Grant Agreement No: 609073) and through HUmanMANufacturing project (Grant Agreement No: 723737). The authors wish to acknowledge the Commission for its support. The authors also wish to acknowledge their gratitude and appreciation to all the Man-Made and HUMAN partners for their contribution during the development of various ideas and concepts presented in this work.
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