Ergonomic and socially responsible shaping of Industry 4.0

Sustainability initiative: Technology acceptability

Successful innovation processes in industrial companies don’t only come down to technical progress. It is also crucial to take into consideration the viewpoints of the various employee groups (socially responsible technology design) and, in particular, those of the future users (ergonomic technology design). This also applies to Industry 4.0: The designing of man-machine interfaces and changes to working environments and organizations are only accepted when the employees are directly involved in the planning and implementation of these projects. However, up until now, there has been a lack of tools to boost the skills for socially responsible and ergonomic technology design.

The aim of the research project is to develop recommendations and consultancy programs for ergonomic and socially responsible innovation and technology design. Companies are made more aware of the need to consider interests, expectations and fears among the employee groups as well as the requirements and abilities of future users when developing intelligent products and production systems and are supported in this endeavor.

Workshop concepts and concrete processes for assessing the impact of technology and user-oriented technology design are developed and implemented in cooperation with cluster companies. These are intended to help businesses increase the acceptability of new technologies. On this basis, guidelines for ergonomic and socially responsible technology design are developed and compiled into a practical manual. A service point is also established to advise companies on assessing the impact of technology and user orientation and to assist with the implementation of measures and concepts.

The project provides cluster companies with practical recommendations on designing the changeover to Industry 4.0 in an ergonomic and socially responsible manner. Businesses are thus able to involve their employees and future users in the development and introduction of intelligent technical systems at an early stage. This also ensures that new technologies and operational change processes are borne by all those involved, and technical innovations are tailored to the needs and requirements of future users. The service point offers a long-term consultancy program that is available to other companies. The results are integrated into university and further education programs and disseminated outside the cluster.

Project duration
01 July 2012 - 30 June 2016