The employees’ individual time management will be optimally aligned with the company’s human resources requirements. That’s because, the factory of the future will be highly flexible and organized like a living Internet in which everything and everyone is networked. “The production lines and their individual assembly stations will be transformable, so it will be easy to retool them in line with the customer order in question,” he explains. This will make it possible to quickly adapt production to changes in demand. The employees will work at each assembly station in turn in a fixed cycle. They will know all the steps of the work process, from the blank to the final product. Plant managers will benefit from this, because the employees will be able to work efficiently at any workstation.
Because everything will be networked, each workstation will “know” at all times which employee is scheduled to work at it next. It will then adjust its parameters within seconds to match that particular employee. The tools will lie ready at the “best point,” and the height and inclination of each workstation will be adjusted in accordance with individual workers’ physical dimensions and any disabilities they may have. “The variants will be as individualized as the workers themselves. They might include standing aids, footrests or even a completely different workstation design,” says Labuttis.
Moreover, collaborative robots will help humans to perform complex tasks. The work done in this factory of the future will be both productive and flexible. The people will provide the flexibility, and the robots will ensure fast and efficient production. The average age of the factory employees will also change. In today’s industrialized countries especially, the factories of the future will have a significantly older workforce because of the rapid demographic transformation that is already under way. By 2050 the number of people over 65 worldwide, which is currently 500 million, will triple. As a result, people will have to work for more years in order to ensure that social security systems remain affordable. But in the factories of tomorrow older workers will also be urgently needed because of their skills and their wealth of knowledge and experience.