How do you imagine factories in the future? Are robots substituting humans?
Not at all! Only a cooperation between humans and more and more intelligent machines can help in increasing production and creating a better working environment.
The manufacturing comes from an analogic past; the more intuitive future would be the absolute automation of industrial processes, where robots would substitute humans. However, the tendency for the nearest future seems to be the collaboration between humans and automatic machines (robots). In this way, more flexible and efficient system can be reached, which could guarantee higher quality of products and higher customer’s satisfaction.
In ‘Factories for Humans’ section, indeed, the speakers presented the latest development in several industrial fields, from tractors to ceramic production, where automation, ICT and mobile devices have a key role. They are essential tools to manage increasing product complexity and to improve quality: virtual reality helps in developing optimised processes, mobile devices are introduced in the workshop to provide information and facilitate communication among workers. But the main characters of the production environment are still humans, with their creativity and their skills. The world attention is now focused on the research of new ways of interaction between humans and machines. If robots are becoming sensitive to humans, humans are becoming skilled, in order to operate machines and use the high number of information provided by the systems. Only the human-robot collaboration, together with the fundamental creativity and problem-solving ability of humans, can lead to a more effective production, a reduction of wastes and a better working environment.
Nani Serrano & Margherita Forlani
Session E22 Factories for Humans