Being More Human in a Digital World: Transforming Manufacturing Shop Floor from Mach to Hu-Mach
Robots have started to transform shop floors in several manufacturing conglomerates. By 2019, more than 1.4 million new industrial robots to be installed in factories around the world as per latest estimate by International Federation of Robotics. In addition to this, a recent report by McKinsey Global Institute states that, only five percent of jobs are suitable for complete automation while other jobs will still have automation done but only partially. Their study also highlights that in advanced economies like USA, the potential jobs for automation totals to more than fifty percent in economy which is a large number that could not be ignored. While we highlight the demand for automation of shop floor, we also like to bring out the alarming increase of shop floor accidents and fatalities that cost several human lives. Despite technological advancement, humanness in shop floor is still debatable. Moreover the human machine interaction has been discussed since 1990s from the origin of semantic web, the dynamic collaboration still faces a lot of technical challenges and reconfiguration of jobs sequence seems very expensive. We looked at the available mechanisms and tools for human and machines interactions at the manufacturing shop floor and explored the potential of ontology to seamlessly integrate the assets and facilitate hassle free communication which could help in reducing accident levels and enable robots take timely action. Our conceptual work also aims to ultimately transform a shop floor from being machines friendly (Mach) to human machine friendly (Hu-Mach) workplace thereby reduce fatalities to an extent. We have proposed the cost effective and efficient way for streaming of real time alerts from shop floor sensors and have combined it with semantics to form a job data-island Mach-HuMach and dynamically reconfigure the jobs sequence to facilitate the successful job execution. We have also proposed S-Jidoka, a semantic based automation for monitoring production performance with reduced rate of fatalities.
Keywords - Manufacturing Technology and Humanness, Human Robots Interaction, Robots in Shop Floor, Shop Floor Safety and Semantics for Healthcare.