What trade-offs do we expect in the future of smart factories?
20. October 2016
3. November 2016

Designing Resilience into Industry 4.0

The Facts4Workers project was presented at the workshop „Human Computer Perspectives of Industry 4.0” on October 18, 2016 at the I-know conference in Graz, the premier international conference on knowledge technologies and data-driven business solutions. The presentation and discussions focused on using the socio-technical improvements of Facts4Workers to not only increase worker satisfaction and organizational outcomes but especially on possibilities to strengthen system resilience. Resilience was defined as the ability to prepare and plan for, as well as absorb, mitigate, or recover from actual or potentially adverse events. The workshop participants discussed that Information Communication Technologies (ICT) may also be adapted to help workers increase the ability of the system to withstand crisis events for which examples from the aviation domain were given. Consequently, based on lessons learned from the Facts4Workers project as well as based on a review of state-of the art of resilience research, a potential framework for designing resilience into systems was discussed. The resilience topic received strong interest and the human-centered focus of Facts4Workers was well received.


Further discussions at the conference indicated that the role of human-centered design in industrial process development has become the status quo of design and development practices from research and governmental perspectives. Also, several keynote speakers at the conference presented quantitative findings about the success of such user-centered designs where the human worker and user considerations are brought in early into the development process. Nevertheless, the actual practice within industrial companies is still dominated by often purely technological approaches that primarily focus on production efficiency, timeliness, and flexibility but neglect human centered opportunities and worker specific considerations. Such approaches frequently view workers as obstacles that have to be convinced or controlled rather than providing opportunities for building jointly successful systems. Therefore, one important challenge for enabling industry 4.0 that Facts4Workers actively addresses, is the industry-wide establishment of human-centered processes, knowledge, and tools to facilitate appropriate human (users, operators, maintainers, etc.) needs and opportunities throughout design and development.

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