Working in the Digital World

Sustainability initiative: Work 4.0

The most important question in the Industry 4.0 future project is what is technically possible. However, the digitalization of work also foregrounds social aspects of the work structure. The change towards more complex products and services as well as an increasing cooperation in development and innovation networks lead to a fundamental change in work organization and the skills profiles of employees. Diverse experiences with change processes in companies suggest that in the end the employees make Industry 4.0 a success or failure. That is why innovative concepts are necessary for the work in producing companies. 

The aim of the Work 4.0 research project is to prepare, execute and follow up a case study with six pilot companies of the leading-edge cluster it's OWL, in order to consider the company-specific challenges of a digitalized working world and to unleash the potential in the companies employee-friendly and in a value-adding way. Here, the focus is on a balance between technical possibilities, organizational design as well as effects on employees.

In cooperation with cluster companies, the university partners work in six pilot projects on the three fields of competence: the human factor in new interaction techniques, effects of Big Data for Industry 4.0 as well as individual and organization-related acceptance of assistance systems. The results of the pilot projects will then be prepared generically for the transfer into further companies. For this purpose, an IT Demonstrator will be developed that visualizes the workplace of the future in a company-neutral way. In workshops, all relevant actors in the company are then sensitized for Work 4.0. Results will be evaluated and recorded in guidelines for the migration to Work 4.0. 

The project helps involved companies in developing methods for coping with the increasing digitalization of work. The created guidelines can then be used for the migration to Work 4.0 in an efficient and appropriate way. This will improve production and organization processes in the long term and increase the employee's acceptance by means of participation. The IT Demonstrator will enable a focused illustration of the scenarios of the future workplace, both for the office work area and the production in the production hall. Results and approaches will be distributed more widely via brochures, public relations and presentations at regional and supra-regional events. In addition, the results of the pilot projects will be aggregated and reflected back into research.

Project duration
01 January 2016 - 31 December 2017