Due to customer-specific mass production, flexibility in production is becoming increasingly important. The development of “Mixed-Skill-Factories” in the EmPReSs project is aiming to demonstrate this flexibility by way of innovative human-robot collaboration, which together with intelligent and flexible planning is making possible new divisions of labour and thus empowerment of humans.
In the project “Empowerment in tomorrow’s production: Rethinking mixed skill factories and collaborative robot systems (EmPReSs)”, novel concepts for human-robot collaboration in factories are being examined. The key question here is how these new technical systems can contribute to the empowerment of employees and the humanisation of production work. The scientific challenges in EmPReSs are multifaceted. On the one hand, consistent and formal modelling of process step requirements and skills must be developed in line with human-robot competences. On the other hand, it is necessary to capture the special characteristics of human work and transfer them into intelligent process planning. At the same time, various aspects of empowerment are being worked out and integrated into human-robot collaboration by means of technical models.
The aim of this research project is to undertake an interdisciplinary and conceptual feasibility study into the design of “mixed skill factories” based on innovative collaboration between humans and robots. In this context, on the one hand existing technologies and tools are being analysed and adjusted from a technical-scientific perspective, focusing on more flexible production planning and intuitive control of robots. On the other hand, the resulting scope for shaping technology, organisation and work is being taken into account from an occupational-sociological perspective. It is crucial here to consider fully the empowerment of employees so as to create a foundation for the humanisation of work. Systematically analysing the opportunities and risks associated with this new type of collaboration will lead both to flexibilisation of production and empowerment of employees within this new “mixed skill factories” regime.