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Digital Manufacturing And The Human Factor

Industry 4.0 is about the connections between machines, data and people.

This has seen the movement from fixed to cloud. From working with complete data to data sets or sampled data. Expert led design to consumer led design

Importantly within all these developments human factors still remain in the form of human capabilities and human limitations (these can be captured under the remit of ergonomics)

Digital Manufacturing And The Human Factor

Digital Manufacturing And The Human Factor

Considering The Ironies of Automation

Irony #1: 

Automatic control systems are put in place because they can do the job better than the operator; but the operator is being asked to monitor that it is working effectively. To address the irony need to recognise that people and technology form a joint cognitive system. Support the formation of an effective mental model of the process.

Irony #2: 

Computer makes decisions quickly therefore no way in which human operator can check in real time that the computer is following its rules correctly. Just because the operator cant keep up doesn’t mean that the system should be slowed down. To overcome this need clarity in the data representation and develop continued understanding into trace ability and accountability of the algorithm.

Irony #3: 

As part of the design process the designer tries to eliminate the operator, but still leaves the operator to do tasks which the designer cannot think how to automate. 9 These may be where they are physical or mental activities that the human can perform them more easily than through automation i.e. metal polishing. To this end it is vitally important to recognise skills, and artificial retention of manual processes for skills maintenance

Irony #4:

Operator will only be able to generate successful new strategies for unusual situations if they have adequate knowledge of the process. Overcoming this can be completed through Teamwork and a systems approach to design.

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Digital Manufacturing and Human Factors Conclusion

Digital manufacturing can transform the way we produce, design and use goods.

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