Hybrid work systems—platform-based work planning—designing productive and human-centered work processes

Michael Spitzhirn, Martin Benter, Christoph Heindl, Noël Scheder, Gerhard Reisinger, Felix Strohmeier & Wernher Behrendt (2022): Hybrid work systems—platform-based work planning—designing productive and human-centered work processes In: Zeitschrift für Arbeitswissenschaft volume 76, pages 489–509 (2022)

Ergonomic and economic factors are important for the design of modern industrial workplaces. Planning tools such as digital models of human motion or motion capturing by video can assist in simulations, monitoring, analyzing and final design of work processes. Combining simulation and motion capture reaps the respective benefits of each approach. Another important aspect is the ability of planners to remotely cooperate when they assess and design future digitally enhanced workplaces. Hybrid Work Systems offers a digital platform to ergonomics experts and workplace designers where they can collaboratively develop economically viable and ergonomically suitable workplaces. Human motion is recorded and categorized via a marker-less video capture system using machine learning algorithms and the recorded work process data can be fed into the simulation. The concepts, systems and interfaces and the interactions with assessment methods for time and ergonomic analysis (e.g. MTM-UAS and EAWS) are demonstrated in an assembly use case for a cylinder head of an internal combustion engine. The platform-based approach and the digitalization enables remote cooperation of experts, which gives companies faster access to a wider pool of expertise and it comes to designing workplaces that take into account ergonomics, economics and workforce demographics.

Practical Relevance: The research reported here addresses industrial work planning and offers new perspectives on how to achieve time measurements and ergonomic analyses when experts have limited access to the actual workplace under scrutiny, e.g., because of a pandemic or because of time or money constraints. The results are of interest to companies with an Industry 4.0 and digitalization agenda and to experts in industrial work planning who are willing to explore digitally enhanced remote work via collaborative Internet platforms.

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