Human-Computer Interaction: Communication, Cooperation, and Application Design

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview
Forcing skilled craftsmen or operators into using information systems, when alternatives are simpler, more socially gratifying and complete, will generally result in disappointment. The operator or maintainer work-situation in the context of a highly automated manufacturing plant, is approaching that of a soldier or control room operator. Consequently, new ways of operator support must be explored to deal with the growing set of problems.Emerging research and commercial fields of "mobile information systems" and "wearable computers" are promising ( Ockerman et al. 1999). However, for manufacturing system applications special conditions apply. Wilson ( 1996) suggests the following criteria for two possible application areas in manufacturing (i.e. operator maintenance information systems and communication for self-directed work teams ):
availability at the site of maintenance
flexible information detail and complexity, according to user and task
capability to provide graphical as well as alphanumeric information
on-line access to parts stores, production records etc.
robustness, durability and, preferably, portability (mobility)
systems must provide means for intra-team, inter-team, and inter-shift communication
systems must be a resource supporting team decision making or collective problem solving
systems must support teams as production units and in team development
systems must be a mechanism for collating "notes of good practice"

Wilson remarks that: regardless technology selected, motivation to use new types of equipment is relying on the devices' ability to "out-perform" old tools, e.g. paper, pencil, logbooks, charts, and dictaphones.

Wilson's findings matches well the findings of Stahre ( 1995a, 1995b) and Johansson ( 1997, 1999) with regards to user requirements among operators and maintainers in advanced manufacturing systems. The authors base their findings on case studies performed in operative CIM environments, mainly in automotive and mechanical industries. The theoretical framework for analysis is based on cognitive sciences, i.e. the three generic levels of cognitive behaviour suggested by Rasmussen ( 1983), and also on situation awareness theories ( Endsley, 1995). Further, Sheridan ( 1987)human supervisory control concept provides a core for development of tools for the manufacturing system operator of the future.

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