Processes and procedures in industrial production are subject to fundamental changes. The real processes, their control and optimization by means of virtual IT-supported processes are coupled by the installation of networked, high-performance embedded systems - so-called Cyber Physical Systems (CPS).
The intelligent products are clearly identifiable, can be located at any time and know their history, their current condition as well as alternative ways to the target state. The embedded production systems are vertically networked with business processes within factories and companies and can be horizontally distributed in real-time controlled value-added networks - from the design of a product to the initial logistics. At the same time, they enable and require consistent engineering throughout the entire value chain. This new type of production is called Industry 4.0.
A major advantage of this new type of production is the increased flexibility of work processes and thereby the ability to react quickly to changes in the market and the availability of resources.
This flexibility has a strong impact on all employees and their working environment. Since human work will remain a future key factor for productivity, new instruments of flexibility must be adapted to people and made positive for their development in the company. The challenge lies in the development of new social infrastructures of work, which anticipate the continuing rapid technological development and focus on people. The strongly changing tasks of the employees are reflected in new job profiles and competence structures that require adapted competence acquisition and development processes. Changes in the structure of work and organisation call for adequate qualification strategies and a culture conducive to learning that enables lifelong learning at the workplace itself and the development of skills that are close to the workplace.
The NRW Forschungskolleg "Designing flexible working environments - human-centered use of Cyber-Physical Systems in Industry 4.0" is dedicated to both the technological and social issues associated with these fundamental changes in industrial production. In inter- and transdisciplinary projects, strategies and solutions for the active design of this change process are developed in cooperation with our network partners.