Reflections on Production Working Environments in Smart Factories

  • Sebastian PimmingerEmail author
  • Werner Kurschl
  • Mirjam Augstein
  • Thomas Neumayr
  • Christine Ebner
  • Josef Altmann
  • Johann Heinzelreiter
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 971)


The fourth industrial revolution has brought new challenges to the production workers in so-called smart factories. The flexible production process and many different product variants call for well-trained human workers. This paper contributes towards a better understanding of manual assembly workers in their everyday environment, since most advances in the production environment are technologically driven. Findings based on the Contextual Design methodology will be discussed and further analyzed in the crosscutting aspects of user, work, social, and environmental context.


Human factors Human-Systems integration Systems engineering 



Our work has been conducted within the scope of the project Human-Centered Workplace 4 Industry (HCW4i), funded through the COIN program and managed by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).


  1. 1.
    Augstein, M., Neumayr, T., Pimminger, S., Ebner, C., Altmann, J., Kurschl, W.: Contextual design in industrial settings: experiences and recommendations. In: Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems—Volume 2: ICEIS. INSTICC, SciTePress, Portugal, pp. 429–440 (2018)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bauernhansl, T., Ten Hompel, M., Vogel-Heuser, B.: Industrie 4.0 in Produktion, Automatisierung und Logistik: Anwendung, Technologien und Migration. Springer Vieweg, Wiesbaden (2014)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Beyer, H., Holtzblatt, K.: Contextual Design: Defining Customer-Centered Systems, 1st edn. Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco (1997)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Coble, J., Maffitt, J.S., Orland, M.J., Kahn, M.G.: Contxtual inquiry: discovering physicians’ true needs. In: Proceedings of the Annual Symposium on Computer Application in Medical Care (1995)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fouskas, K.G., Pateli, A.G., Spinellis, D.D., Virloa, H.: Applying contextual inquiry for capturing end-users behaviour requirements for mobile exhibition services. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Mobile Business, pp. 8–9 (2002)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gellatly, A., Hansen, C., Highstrom, M., Weiss, J.P.: Journey: general motors’ move to incorporate contextual design into its next generation of automotive HMI designs. In: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications, pp. 156–161. ACM, New York, USA (2010)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gorecky, D., Schmitt, M., Loskyll, M.: Mensch-Maschine Interaktion im Industrie 4.0-Zeitalter. In: Industrie 4.0 in Produktion, Automatisierung und Logistik. Springer Fach-medien Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden, pp. 525–542 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hanson, R., Medbo, L.: Kitting and time efficiency in manual assembly. Int. J. Prod. Res. 50(4), 1115–1125 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Holtzblatt, K., Jones, S.: Contextual inquiry: a participatory technique for system design. In: Schuler, D., Namioka, A. (eds.) Participatory Design: Principles and Practices. Chapter 9. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (1993)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Holtzblatt, K., Wendell, J., Wood, S.: Rapid Contextual Design. Elsevier/Morgan Kauf-mann, San Francisco (2005)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Holtzblatt, K., Beyer H.: Contextual Design: Design for Life. Morgan Kaufmann, Cambridge (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Koren, Y.: The Global Manufacturing Revolution: Product-Process-Business Integration and Reconfigurable Systems. Wiley, New York (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Peissner, M., Hipp, C.: Potenziale der Mensch-Technik Interaktion für die effiziente und vernetzte Produktion von morgen. Fraunhofer Verlag, Stuttgart (2013)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Pfeiffer, S.: Robots, industry 4.0 and humans, or why assembly work is more than routine work. Societies 6, 16 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    VDI-Richtlinie: VDI/VDE 2862 Blatt 2 Minimum requirements for application of fastening systems and tools - Applications in plant construction, mechanical engineering, equipment manufacturing and for flange connections in components under pressure boundary (2015)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Viitanen, J.: Contextual inquiry method for usercentered clinical it system design. Stud. Health Technol. Inform. 169, 965–969 (2011)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wixon, D., Holtzblatt, K., Knox, S.: Contextual design: an emergent view of system design. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 329–336. ACM (1990)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wurhofer, D., Buchner, R., Tscheligi, M.: Research in the semiconductor factory: insights into experiences and contextual influences. In: 7th International Conference on Human System Interactions (HSI), pp. 129–134. IEEE (2014)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Pimminger
    • 1
    Email author
  • Werner Kurschl
    • 2
  • Mirjam Augstein
    • 2
  • Thomas Neumayr
    • 1
  • Christine Ebner
    • 3
  • Josef Altmann
    • 2
  • Johann Heinzelreiter
    • 2
  1. 1.Research and DevelopmentUniversity of Applied Sciences Upper AustriaHagenbergAustria
  2. 2.School of Informatics, Communications and MediaUniversity of Applied Sciences Upper AustriaHagenbergAustria
  3. 3.School of ManagementUniversity of Applied Sciences Upper AustriaSteyrAustria

Personalised recommendations