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Reflections on Operators' and Maintenance Engineers' Experiences of Smart Factories

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Association for Computing Machinery


In production environments, the number of distributed, networked, and automated systems has grown rapidly and is expected to continue to grow in the future. This affects humans' work fundamentally, in terms of their tasks and routines. Increasing automation and digitalization leads to a substantial change of human-machine interactions on the shop floor, raising the question about humans' role in highly automated environments. In this paper, we shed light on how work in increasingly automated and digitalized factories is experienced, drawing on interviews with operators and maintenance engineers from three different industrial contexts. By reflecting on actual and anticipated developments in smart production environments, we point out how workers will experience those contexts. We finally discuss resulting challenges and leverage points for smart factories, i.e., areas where HCI and CSCW can contribute to positively influence workers' experiences in times of increasing automation and digitalization.


Wurhofer, Daniela; Meneweger, Thomas; Fuchsberger, Verena; Tscheligi, Manfred (2018): Reflections on Operators' and Maintenance Engineers' Experiences of Smart Factories. Proceedings of the 2018 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work. DOI: 10.1145/3148330.3148349. Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 284–296. Sanibel Island, Florida, USA