Towards Industry 4.0: Increased Need for Situational Awareness on the Shop Floor
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Original versionAdvances in production management systems : the path to intelligent, collaborative and sustainable manufacturing : IFIP WG 5.7 International Conference, APMS 2017 : Hamburg, Germany, September 3–7, 2017 : Proceedings, Part I, 2017, 322-330
Currently, much attention is given to the technological opportunities and challenges that “Industry 4.0” entails. However, though the change towards Industry 4.0 is driven by technology, this industrial revolution is not strictly technological. The human aspect of Industry 4.0 is still an emerging field, and must be further researched if modern manufacturers are to reach their full potential. While manufacturers have a high focus on modernizing production processes, the accelerating automation and consequent increasing complexity of tasks is not accompanied by the necessary support for the operator. This results in inefficiency and non-optimal use of workers’ capabilities and potential. We argue that operators need technical support systems for increased situation awareness, to be able to efficiently handle an increased pace and complexity of tasks. Our empirical evidence shows that this is not only valid for high-tech manufacturing, but can also be seen in “traditional” manufacturing. We use case studies from three Norwegian manufacturers to illustrate how digitization is yet to reach the operator.