Sustainability Initiatives

Working in a digital world

Work 4.0

The most important question in the Industrie 4.0 future project is what is technically possible. However, the digitalisation 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 organisation and the skills profiles of employees. Diverse experiences with change processes in companies suggest that in the end the employees make Industrie 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 was 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 digitalised working world and to unleash the potential in the companies employee-friendly and in a value-adding way. Here, the focus lay on a balance between technical possibilities, organisational design as well as effects on employees.

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

The project helped involved companies in developing methods for coping with the increasing digitalisation of work. The created guidelines could be used for the migration to Work 4.0 in an efficient and appropriate way. This improved production and organisation processes in the long term and considerably increased the employee's acceptance by means of participation. The IT Demonstrator enabled 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 have been distributed more widely via brochures, public relations and presentations at regional and supra-regional events. In addition, the results of the pilot projects have been aggregated and reflected back into research.

Project duration
01 January 2016 - 31 December 2017