Annalisa Magone

Technology and the human factor in the digital factory

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Industry 4.0; Blue Collar; Collaborative Engineering; Worker Participation; Vocational Education and Training.

For a long time, the public debate about Industry 4.0 has suggested two main perspectives: the technological one and the perspective on industrial policies. On the opposite, the discussion on the social and organizational effects of the new paradigm has not evolved so much. Our paper examines this specific point of view, and reflects on how workers and work organization are exposed to the changes generated within the smart factory. The analysis is developed in three stages. The first shows how the innovation introduced by «enabling technologies» transforms the models of communication within the production process, through the use of digital media. The second describes the effects connected to the introduction of these tools in work organization, which recall the character of lean production, and amplifies its effects through the real-time data generation and analysis. The third outlines two ideal-typical figures of the smart factory, called «augmented blue collar» and «new conception engineer». The piece ends with some thoughts on training and on workers participation in the production cycle. These factors are crucial steps in the concrete realization of a smart factory, but they are also the turning point in understanding Industry 4.0 as an opportunity for enterprises and not as a cost to society.

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