Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

iPhone - the work tool for sustainable factories of the future

28.05.2009
Assembly system operators in sustainable factories of the future will have just the information they need - just when they need it.

Operators will always be online thanks to an iPhone attached to their protective clothing. This is the vision of researchers from Chalmers, the Volvo Group, and other partners in part of the major EU project MyCar. Concept prototypes of future operator work tools, based on iPhone and iPodTouch, are being tested at a Swedish truck assembly plant.

Professor Johan Stahre is the leader of Chalmers' manufacturing research effort in MyCar, a pan-European research project. Together with Volvo Technology and the University of Skövde he has developed this highly usable information tool.

"In assembly work of the future we believe that iPhone-based work tools could be just as common as powered hand-tools and automated screwdrivers are today," Johan Stahre says. "The new tools are important to productivity but also to environmental and social sustainability of complex assembly work. The basic assumption is that humans are the most important and flexible assets available."

Each day, tens of thousands of pages of assembly instructions are printed, at thousands of assembly plants throughout the world. If wearable information tools were implemented on a broad scale, huge amounts of paper would be saved, allowing for a radical increase in environmental sustainability. Such tools would result in productivity gains and provide efficient support for lean production. Operators receive clear, accurate and updated instructions. Late and rapid product changes could be made more easily to accommodate customer requirements.

Assembly operator Daniel Kotala is testing the new wearable information tool at the pilot plant at Volvo Trucks. The iPodTouch attached to his jacket presents all the necessary instructions for the truck chassis assembly task he is performing.

In automotive assembly plants, operators are required to handle large and increasing numbers of instructions for the variety of trucks and cars that we as customers wish to buy. The operators need to move around large truck chassis and it is sometimes difficult to handle paper-based instructions or look at computer screens when performing assembly operations. With new, wearable information tools, operators are supplied with the information they need, when and where they need it. This is a new kind of smart decision support where correct levels of cognitive automation have been analysed by MyCar researchers.

The work environment is enhanced when operators can concentrate on core assembly tasks instead of having to move around to read and memorise assembly instructions.

"With iPhone-based tools, operators are able to use e-mail, sms text messaging, and the telephone at their workplace, just like any office," Johan Stahre says. "The change in work content offers freedom of choice, makes assembly work more attractive, and enhances social sustainability. Important factors considered in the MyCar project are company and employee needs in order to be in a better position to attract a future workforce."

Concept prototypes for new iPhone- or iPodTouch-based information systems are currently being field tested at the Volvo Trucks pilot assembly plant. However, it will still be some time before the concept can be fully realised and industrialised.

"The operators are very positive to the new opportunities that are opened up with this information tool. Several operators who tested it said that they would to start using the new iPodTouch tool tomorrow if they could," Professor Stahre concludes.

FACT FILE: Information tools for assembly system operators
Methods for analysing assembly systems from an information perspective and concept prototypes for the iPhone/iPodTouch-based information tool have been developed through co-operation between Chalmers, Volvo Technology, Volvo Trucks, the University of Skövde, and the Greek companies CASP and Emphasis Telematics.

This collaboration is a sub-project of the pan-European project MyCar, which aims to radically increase the flexibility of automotive manufacturing. MyCar is creating new opportunities for extreme customer orientation and mass customisation of cars and trucks. Human-centred methods and tools to enhance the speed and accuracy of information support for final assembly operators are important to the MyCar end-result. Chalmers' contribution to the European project is part of our concerted, long-term effort towards achieving sustainable production.

For further information, please contact:
Professor Johan Stahre, Division of Production Systems ,
Department of Product and Production Development,
Chalmers University of Technology.
Telephone +46 31-772 12 88
E-mail: johan.stahre@chalmers.se
Contact for MyCar:
Bert Hill, co-ordinator for the MyCar project, Volvo Technology
Telephone: +46 31-322 74 83
E-mail: bert.hill@volvo.com

Sofie Hebrand | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers
20.07.2018 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

nachricht Study suggests buried Internet infrastructure at risk as sea levels rise
18.07.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The Maturation Pattern of the Hippocampus Drives Human Memory Deve

23.07.2018 | Science Education

FAU researchers identify Parkinson's disease as a possible autoimmune disease

23.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

O2 stable hydrogenases for applications

23.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>