Project R-13241


Measuring and Optimizing Operator Well-being via Dashboards and Task Allocation While Sustaining Production Efficiency (Research)


Industry 4.0 primarily focused on technological progress (e.g., digitization). The emerging Industry 5.0 paradigm complements this technological focus with increased attention for (among other things) human centricity. By putting a stronger focus on human factors like operator well-being, manufacturing companies that invest in Industry 5.0 principles will benefit from (1) better talent attraction and retention (cf. the war for operator talent), (2) more workable work (i.e., manufacturing jobs with fewer well-being risks), and thus (3) less absenteeism caused by physical or cognitive illness. However, to remain competitive, operator-centric manufacturing must not come at the expense of productivity. WellFiciency_SBO therefore strives to jointly optimize (1) the well-being of industrial operators and (2) production efficiency. To this end, WellFiciency_SBO will first contribute a technological methodology to assess relevant operator well-being metrics, both physical (e.g., postural ergonomics, body joint torques) and cognitive (e.g., cognitive load, stress, engagement). This methodology will be realized by integrating real-time sensor-based well-being measurements with subjective data gathered via frequent (micro-)surveys. This will lead to a digital twin (DT) of operator well-being. With the necessary privacy and ethics safeguards in place, this DT will be exploited to research (1) real-time well-being dashboards that adapt their data presentation to the information needs (and permissions) of typical user profiles involved in assembly (e.g., operator, team lead, prevention advisor); and (2) an optimization framework for operator task allocation and scheduling that balances productivity-oriented criteria with operator well-being targets. To maximize the chances of acceptance (and hence the valorization potential) of the proposed research, relevant principles like stakeholder involvement, participatory design, and privacy-by-design will be applied throughout project execution. Near-industrial validation will happen in HEAL_INFRA, as it will allow to simulate the industrial challenges that the user group companies face w.r.t. both cognitive and physical well-being

Period of project

01 April 2023 - 31 March 2027