Connecting Humans to the Loop of Digitized Factories’ Automation Systems

Carpanzano, Emanuele and Bettoni, Andrea and Julier, Simon and Costa, Joao C and Olieira, Manuel (2018) Connecting Humans to the Loop of Digitized Factories’ Automation Systems. UNSPECIFIED. In: Proceedings of 3rd International Conference on the Industry 4.0 model for Advanced Manufacturing UNSPECIFIED.

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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-theloop condition. This paper proposes a human-centered automation framework for improved workers’ wellbeing, 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.

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