Working with assistance systems

By Federal Ministry of Education and Research

It
remains to be seen if Industry 4.0 is a job killer or job creator. Experts
opinions’ differ, but one thing is certain: Work will change for many people in
factories and on shop floors. 

Bringing order to the universe with glasses (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Smart assistance systems will take over many of their chores. Little robot trolleys will navigate factories as if piloted by phantom hand, carting components, tools and entire workstations from here to there. All machine data and even entire production line data will be accessible in real time to fast-track manufacturing. Machines will message employees’ smartphones to ask for help and report problems with exacting detail. And these are just a few of the many features of tomorrow’s factory showcased in the Future Work Lab.

Goodbye, piles of paper (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Goodbye, piles of paper

A mouse and keyboard will not be the only tools to handle data and documents at tomorrow’s workstation. The entire desk will be a digital worktop.

Wireless power and data at the workplace (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Wireless_Table (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Various wireless technologies built into the tabletop will provide wireless power and data access.

Goodbye, spaghetti syndrome (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Tablets, displays, lighting – knowledge workers will have these wireless devices at their fingertips on tomorrow’s desk.

A brainy bolter (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

A brainy bolter

This is a smart electric screwdriver. Activating only when placed on the right screw, it fastens the screw down to a predefined torque. Place it anywhere but on this type of screw, and the power stays off.

Montage02 (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Future Work Lab: Personalisierter MonatgearbeitsplatzFederal Ministry of Education and Research

Easy assembly (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Easy assembly

Well-lit, ergonomic and smart – that is how we envision tomorrow’s assembly workstation to be. The table and chair automatically adapt to every worker that logs in. Mixed reality glasses show what needs to be done.

A mood-enhancing mushroom (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

A mood-enhancing mushroom

This mushroom-like lamp makes a nice accessory for a futuristic workplace. Its lampshade emits variable light; its built-in nozzles can atomize fragrances, if desired.

Phantom parts delivery (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Phantom parts delivery

A roaming robot cart fetches everything workers need to get the job done.

Walkabout plants (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Walkabout plants

Planters conjure a pleasant indoor climate. Mounted on a self-driving wheelboard, they can go anywhere to spread some green cheer.

Bringing order to the universe with glasses (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Bringing order to the universe with glasses

Mixed-reality glasses let this worker pick the job he wants to do next. He grabs a ball from a color-coded cloud of options. Red orders are urgent and come first.

An assembly trio (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

An assembly trio

Modular workstations can go anywhere in the hall. This mobility puts everything within easy reach. Setups are quickly reconfigured when it comes time to make a new product.

Seeing is knowing (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Seeing is knowing

This factory monitor provides all manufacturing data in real time. This will be a viable option once every process is stored in the company cloud.

Simple scheduling (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research


Simple
scheduling

The shift supervisor can easily schedule the day’s activities with the data furnished by the monitor.

Future Work Lab: Echtzeit-DatenvisualisierungFederal Ministry of Education and Research

More than merely a timekeeper (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

More than merely a timekeeper

This smartwatch is very versatile. It raises the alarm when a machine needs assistance. It documents when a task is completed. And it can be customized, for example, by setting the desired lead time for a reminder.

From an idea to a brand (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

From an idea to a brand

The idea of using a Smartwatch to simplify factory workflows was born at Fraunhofer. It grew into a company called aucobo.

Scheduling shifts via app (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research


Scheduling
shifts via app

The company wants to put in an extra shift. The word goes out to all employees via app. They can volunteer or beg off at the touch of a button. If a worker needs to leave early or trades shifts, she can do so with the app.

Hannover Messe 2013: Selbstorganisierte Kapazitätssteuerung KapaflexCyFederal Ministry of Education and Research

Go or no-go? (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Go or no-go?

Is that worker reaching for the right part? The system detects and indicates this like a traffic light – red for no-go and green for go.

Nothing to grab (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Learning at work

Today it is usually an experienced employee who teaches a junior coworker to operate machines or assemble products. A program will take care of that someday soon. With the infinite patience of a teacher that never gets annoyed, it will use images or video clips to show what needs to be done next. Mixed reality and virtual reality will also facilitate learning. Cyberspace is the place to be for designers, and it makes an excellent tool for planning factory workflows. The following exhibits will give you an idea of what that is all about. 

A glimpse of the future (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

A glimpse of the future

This gentleman is gazing through VR glasses to see a conveyor belt that has yet to be built. Virtual reality can make planning a whole lot easier.

Nothing to grab (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

He can lift virtual balls from a conveyor belt with his virtual claws. His VR glasses turn nothing into something to grab.

Future Work Lab: Industrial Holodeck - Planung mit virtueller RealitätFederal Ministry of Education and Research

Educational videos (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Educational videos

It doesn't have to be an old hand who teaches a newcomer the tricks of the trade. This monitor shows what needs to be done.

Montage01 (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Pointers

What's to be done next? A projected image provides guidance.

Future Work Lab: Qualifizierung mit LernvideosFederal Ministry of Education and Research

Spirits in the material world (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research


Spirits in the material world

This gentleman is wearing mixed-reality glasses. They let him see his real environment and a virtual image, a technology that comes in handy for planning tasks. A quick look is all it takes to see if a machine fits between two others that are already in place.

Double vision (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Double vision

See more through mixed reality glasses - real things like a hand as well as virtual objects.

Awed and amazed (2017)Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Awed and amazed

Mixed reality is a mind-bending experience, especially when you can manipulate virtual images like this woman is doing with her hand.

Credits: Story

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung
Projektträger Karlsruhe PTKA
Fraunhofer IAO
Fraunhofer IPA
Universität Stuttgart IFF
Universität Stuttgart IAT

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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