Work in the Industry of the Future (ARIZ) – Design of Hybrid Work Systems with the Focus on Human-Robot-Collaboration

Work in the industry of the future is more and more developed and designed under the conditions of the industry 4.0. The program industry 4.0 and the so-called fourth industrial revolution come along with a broad networking and digitization of production which builds on the technical essentials of cyber-physical systems and the internet of things. In connection with that, a huge reconstruction process of the production forms and conditions takes place, which has far-reaching consequences for the entire way of working and the economy. In the future, the successes of the manufacturing base Germany will strongly depend on the degree to which they are able to use the fundamental changes in the industrial output and the steady improvements and innovations of processes and products in their own favour but also in the favour of the business location Germany. The Federal Government has already played an active role since the early stages of the industry 4.0 development, proclaimed it as future project and anchored it in their high-tech strategy as well as digital agenda. The industry 4.0 perceives humans as integral component of the production, functioning as experience and decision maker. The consequence is an approximation and integration of classical tasks of production and knowledge workers. Hence several needs arise: Perceiving the increasing networked cooperation and the possibility of collaboration between humans and agents in a hybrid system as a chance, overcoming the traditional technical centering in regard to the design of work systems and investigating the continuous and collective advancement of abilities of humans, robots and virtual agents from the work research’s point of view. Goals of the project:

1. New work and potentials: Generating insights of prospective industrial work under the conditions of cooperative work of hybrid work systems comprising humans, robots and virtual agents which are located in an increasing heterogeneous technical environment.

2. Learning and competency development: Learning and the competency development in hybrid works systems are investigated in reference to multimodal user interfaces concerning the visualization of information and interaction. Apart from that, scenarios of teaching and learning as well as basic development processes of teams and roles in hybrid work systems are analysed.

3. Acceptance and safety of hybrid work systems: Questions of acceptance and safety concerning new hybrid technical systems are answered from the perspective of the industrial psychology, as those are, while functioning as consequence, result and goal of hybrid work systems, essential for the same.

4. Hybrid work systems- friend or foe? An employee focussed investigation of demand-patterns in regard to hybrid work systems is performed on the level of action, attitude as well as objectives and ideals.

5. Development and prototypical realization of a demonstrator: The development of a demonstrator with multiple robotic systems (up to 2 kilo handling weight) in the final stage serves - amongst others - to integrate “flexible robots” (Lightweigth Robotics, optimised for human-machine-cooperation in the smallest spaces) which perform cooperative actions with humans on a common basis.

Project information:


Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung

Funding Period:

01.09.2016 – 31.08.2020


Simon Himmel

Project partner:

Lehrstuhl für Informationsmanagement im Maschinenbau (IMA)

Zentrum für Lern- und Wissensmanagement der RWTH Aachen (ZLW)

Lehrstuhl für Communication Science, Human - Computer Interaction Center der RWTH Aachen (HCIC)

An-Institut für Unternehmenskybernetik e.V. (IfU) der RWTH Aachen

Festo AG & Co. KG (Festo AG)

Festo Didactic GmbH (Festo Didactic)

robomotion GmbH (robomotion)