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Worker-Centric Workplaces in Smart Factories

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FACTS4WORKERS (Worker-Centric Workplaces in Smart Factories)

Reporting period: 2015-12-01 to 2017-05-31

Worker-Centric Workplaces in Smart Factories (FACTS4WORKERS) is a project coordinated by VIRTUAL VEHICLE in the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission within the Factory of the Future PPP. The vision of FACTS4WORKERS is to leverage the large potential added value of manufacturing data, information and knowledge in a worker-centred way to achieve worker empowerment, resulting in higher worker satisfaction and increased worker productivity.

It is the high ambition of our project to create “FACTorieS for WORKERS” (FACTS4WORKERS), therefore a serious effort will be put into integrating already available IT enablers into a seamless & flexible Smart Factory infrastructure based on worker-centric and data-driven technology building blocks. As FACTS4WORKERS is underpinned by a clear human-centric approach: usability, user experience and technology acceptance are of the utmost project interest.

FACTS4WORKERS will develop and demonstrate workplace solutions that support the inclusion of increasing elements of knowledge work on the factory floor. These solutions will empower workers on the shop floor with smart factory ICT infrastructure. Advancement will be gained through integrating several building blocks from a flexible smart factory infrastructure, focusing on workers’ needs, expectations and requirements, and being supported by organisational measures and change management. In line with our assumptions on impacts on productivity we therefore estimate that that we can increase job satisfaction for 800,000 European workers by the year 2025.

These solutions will be developed according to the following four industrial challenges which are generalise-able to manufacturing in general: personalised augmented operator, worked-centric rich-media knowledge sharing/management, self-learning manufacturing workplaces and in-situ mobile learning in the production.

Moreover, FACT4WORKER‘s objectives in terms of measureable indicators are:

To increase problem-solving and innovation skills of workers;

To increase cognitive job satisfaction of workers participating in the pilots;

To increase average worker productivity by 10% for workers participating in pilots;

To achieve TRL 5-7 on a number of worker-centric solutions through which workers become the smart element in smart factories.

The smart factory demonstrator will be run within the automotive supply chain. The consortium is composed by 15 partners from 7 different EU member states including tier-1, -2 and -3 suppliers, large production enterprises and individual factories that are representative of many medium-sized manufacturing operations, manufacturing SMEs, universities and excellent research institutes.
FACTS4WORKERS started with capturing workers´ and organisations´ needs and requirements for information and knowledge-based support in manufacturing. The general approach taken in FACTS4WORKERS was inspired by well-known and widely accepted process models in user centric design methodologies. WP1 immediately started to explore the practices of workers and the contexts of organizations at the six industrial partners. We have developed a framework to predict the impact of the proposed changes in work situations on our project targets, based on seven impact dimensions and took a closer look at each of this 8 context-of-use as well as at the intended impacts on individuals (autonomy, variety, competence, relatedness, protection) and organisations (quality, time efficiency). The four industrial challenges defined at proposal stage (Personalised augmented operator, Worked-centric rich-media knowledge sharing/management, Self-learning manufacturing workplaces, In-situ mobile learning in the production) have been elaborated and the requirements for the FACTS4WORKERS solution defined.
WP2 developed Front-end building block specifications and a general HMI guideline for the smart factory solution and derived the screen designs for all use-cases. The architecture for the front ends has been fixed for best re-usability and flexibility and all front-ends for the first prototypes have been developed. As parallel guiding work a technology monitoring report capturing the state-of-the-art regarding current technologies (devices, software developments and tools etc.) within the very dynamic field of today´s HCI technology (smart glasses, smart textiles etc.) was delivered and updated regularly.
In close cooperation with WP2 and WP1, WP3 has provided a definition of each context-of-use in terms of information requested by the workers to support their empowerment and a technical concept needed to provide such information and developed workflow descriptions for the contexts-of-use for the industrial cases. WP3 has also provided a major set of the service building blocks (38 deployed, with 23 in the pipeline) to provide such required information, e.g. a “Defects&Solutions” or a Machine Status BB, to name a few. WP3 has also defined detailed definition of the input and output expected from the building block and the technical concept to be used for each building block. All Building Blocks now have a REST API to seamlessly connect to each other within the FACTS4WORKERS solution.
WP4 developed the architecture for smart factory worker-centered and data-centered building blocks and established a demonstration system. RESTdesc is a method to describe functionalities of machines and capabilities of humans in a machine readable way. The Semantic Workflow Engine uses these descriptions to make a plan and either performs (machine task) or recommends (human work).
Within WP5 we have successfully deployed all initial Prototypes at the 6 industrial partners and provided the initial trainings and the relevant connectors to the factories infrastructures.
A framework to measure the impacts on works satisfaction and innovations skills increase has been designed in WP6. The first evaluations have been conducted to firstly validate the framework, secondly verify the fit of our interventions and thirdly analyse the expected impact on our goals.
After defining a corporate identity of the project for external communication (including project website, project folder, project templates, ..) and dissemination activities, WP7 conducted an analysis about the dissemination achievements. Up until now the project provided 16 scientific publications; 12 conference papers, 4 peer-reviewed journals with a lot more in the pipelines. FACTS4WORKERS is well present in all Social media channels. A business plan for exploiting the results has been elaborated.
FACTS4WORKERS expects impacts on job satisfaction, problem-solving and innovation skills, productivity, employment, factory floor working conditions and perception of factory work which will result in a significant impact on a whole European manufacturing industry. The project has already started developing methods and metrics and defining KPIs for measuring and predicting the expected impacts described before.
Sharing context displayed information
Roles of workers analysed in FACTS4WORKERS
Operator using HUD to get machine parameters
Wearables are great tools in factory environment