Lean Industry 4.0 - intelligent human-machine interaction

  • Humans and technology work hand in hand

Digitalization and Industry 4.0 are changing a great deal of processes—particularly production processes—in companies. Augmented reality assists production workers by expanding the real world. Workers can proactively and flexibly use assistance systems as part of human-machine interaction.

Smart orders

Machine-to-machine communication: the smart order instructs the machine
Machine-to-machine communication: the smart order instructs the machine
Machine-to-machine communication: the smart order instructs the machine

The smart order combines production, assembly and logistics steps and recognizes all options needed to manufacture a product. It produces a virtual replica of the development stage of the product and, if required, controls work instructions for individual products. Using machine-to-machine communication, it independently coordinates the equipment and systems that are needed to fulfill the order.

In addition, the smart order checks the availability of resources for the next steps and then transmits the location and the task to be completed to all parties involved in the process. The complete order flow and feedback of the steps are visible in the chat history.

Smart work

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Interactive solutions provide workers with flexible assistance during the assembly process itself. For instance, augmented reality can provide workers with additional assembly information and thereby increase accuracy. Assistance systems physically relieve workers of the burden of hard and monotonous work.

Humans and robots work hand in hand. Gesture recognition creates entirely new possibilities for intuitive operation in human-machine collaboration. People can use simple gestures (touch, press or move) to manipulate the progress of a process according to the situation. The operator can request various parts, which the robot then collects from a number of storage facilities and installs.

Tasks can therefore be shared appropriately between people and machines, with humans performing tasks that require cognitive skills. For example, robots can hand parts to factory operatives, from various angles and directions, as part of the quality control process, ensuring an ergonomically optimal process. The assembly system at a research campus shows that this vision may soon become a reality.

The directors of value creation keep an eye on their factory's results
The directors of value creation keep an eye on their factory's results
The directors of value creation keep an eye on their factory's results

Across all fields of production, every work envelope is being affected by the changes that go hand in hand with the introduction of new technologies as part of Industry 4.0. In this context, technology must be defined as an aid for people, placing the focus on them.

While individual orders will be independently managed by the factory in the future, to allow workers to fully concentrate on their tasks, the directors of value creation must keep an eye on their factory's orchestra and conduct its performance perfectly. They have a particular obligation to manage their factory in a results-oriented manner. In addition, smart solutions assist people at every turn.

Smart directors

This is where the entire factory is controlled
This is where the entire factory is controlled
This is where the entire factory is controlled

Even production and logistics management is a new task. This is where the entire factory is controlled – from receiving the order to dispatching the goods, and the directors of value creation are responsible for managing their decentralized production area with results in mind. They create a detailed plan of their daily production sequences, and approaches from the world of gaming assist them with this task. The predictive order simulation runs like a game that takes into account the flexible and results-oriented use of available resources. Its role is to act as the interface between the customer and production. To give the customer the desired transparency—i.e., for the processing status—the directors of value creation receive all the necessary data regarding their production area's performance results, in real time.

Smart machines

Since Lean Industry 4.0 and Lean Production focus on people, they deliver a better quality of working environment. The mobile assembly assistant accepts all the order information and becomes a cyber physical system (CPS) that does the groundwork for the worker. The CPS includes all the information regarding the order in question, can communicate special designs or other customer requests to the technician, and it can provide the right information for augmented reality (man-machine interaction).

Technological assistance increases acceptance among workers. As a result, they have the opportunity to focus on important activities and increase their performance and development capabilities. In addition, it supports the well-being and health of employees.

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