Loughborough University
Thesis-2019-VanLopik.pdf (96.15 MB)

Considerations for the design of next-generation interfaces to support human workers in Industry 4.0

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posted on 2019-04-04, 15:04 authored by Kate Van-Lopik

The Industry 4.0 paradigm indicates rapid changes to manufacturing through the availability and utilisation of data. These complex socio-technical systems will require human workers to monitor, govern and improve the flexibility of processes. Human workers require interfaces to enable interaction with systems and to support interpretation of the associated data within the context of the system. The work conducted in this thesis provide a summary of the considerations required for the selection of suitable interfaces and guidelines through a multi-layered approach. The voices of stakeholders from Industry 4.0 provide a technical perspective and highlight the need for guidance and evaluation methods for non-expert designer use. Observation, interviews and collaborative work with an industrial partner identified practical requirements and anticipated use of interfaces and data presentations within an end-of-life electronics instantiation. Human factors experts and academic literature were consulted for existing guidelines and best practice and to classify the anticipated roles of human workers. The literature was reviewed to obtain current recommendations for interfaces and data presentation and to identify gaps. Examples of recommended interfaces were developed and evaluated to assess the suitability of the current state of the art and develop guidelines for improvement. Toward this aim, four studies were conducted; (i) an end user content authoring method for supporting training using augmented reality, (ii) an evaluation method for assessing support of last mile couriers was developed and utilised in a comparison study of a handheld and in-sight navigation aid, (iii)the influence of platform and visual encoding were assessed in the support of warehouse picking activities and (iv) three levels of visual encoding of business process models were evaluated considering their influence on the users mental model of the system. The results of the work conducted in this thesis indicated that an Industry 4.0 interface should be designed considering the task, user and environment as well as the platform and the visual encoding.





  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


Loughborough University

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© Katherine van Lopik

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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Andrew West

Qualification name

  • PhD

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

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