Human Factors Competence Center for Employment in Industrie 4.0

The aim of the research project “AKzentE4.0” is the humane introduction and implementation of Industry 4.0 concepts and technologies in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Aachen region. For the sustainable anchoring of results, a “Human Factors Competence Center for Employment in Industrie 4.0” is being established.

Initial situation

Due to the lignite phase-out, the Aachen region is confronted with considerable structural changes. Since innovative technologies and concepts of Industry 4.0, in particular AI applications, have so far only been used by occasional regional companies, there is a need for support in the development and introduction of such technologies as well as in the investigation of associated effects on employees and working conditions.

Solution approach

Based on an interview- and questionnaire-supported needs analysis for the future service offering of the competence center, a competence-needs matrix is derived. In an iterative process, a mixed reality model factory consisting of distributed virtual and real laboratories will be set up. At the same time, ten company-driven consortial projects are being carried out, in which methods and procedures from the field of occupational science are being developed for participative and prospective work design and ergonomic assessment.

Expected result and benefits for the target group

In the mixed reality model factory, Industry 4.0 technologies are tested and evaluated, vividly presented to companies, and made tangible in terms of their potential for operational work design. Via the competence center, companies have access to a modular toolbox for the introduction of new types of technologies, good and next practice examples, as well as qualification measures tailored to target groups. In addition, the competence center offers opportunities for networking and knowledge exchange between companies, research institutions and associations as well as their employees.