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Collaborative work for an agile remanufacturing chain

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The research project CIRCULAR is offering PhD thesis on :
- Collaborative work for an agile remanufacturing chain at Grenoble Alpes University, PACTE Laboratory

Context and objective :
The remanufacturing productive system products new working situations for workers. This organization demands human agility to adapt and to develop Human-Machine collaboration and cooperation between workers. The aim of this thesis is to define new roles and competencies that workers will need in a circular industrial system. The stakes are to understand the learning conditions of workers in the digitalized remanufacturing industry.
In production systems, tasks are often defined by standards and workers develop the capacity to manage different work situations. The human mobilizes their experience of work situations to improve the efficiency and preserve occupational skills (Gaudart, Weill-Fassina, 2000). In agile system, the human activity is disrupted. The worker is constantly in a situation of adaptation to manage technical and temporal requirements of robots. Tasks define the workstations interaction mediatized by numeric tools. The agile organization depends on human factors : knowledge of cognitive strategies (reasoning, operative regulation, diagnosis, decision-making) and physical conditions of tasks (movement, dependence of machine, handling, visual perception). The workstation context facilitates the learning conditions : for e.g. workstation improve the movement in different dimensions on human activity (physiological, social and psychological) (Simonet, Caroly, Clot, 2008). The challenge of carrying out interventions in working environments consists in creating the right conditions to express and examine the resources that can be used to develop more efficient and health-friendly automatisms. One way could be the use of tools like “simulation of future work conditions” to design workstation adapted. This methodology aids the intervention for designing agile remanufacturing process. The constructive approach in ergonomics (Falzon, 2004) is expected to produce knowledge about the resources in this occupational context that develop the skills to adapt various working situation along product flow.
Furthermore, the agile organization depends on cooperation between different workers. To obtain quality, efficiency and occupational health, collective work is essential (Caroly, 2010). The production organization impacts the steps of equipment maintenance, cleaning and changes of series. The dependence in collective organization increases the pressure and the risks of misunderstanding and dysfunctions. But the efficient cooperation is founded on collective competencies (Darses, Falzon, 2004) : synchronization of Human-Machines interaction, mutual aid in team to exchange data information about decision process. The development of collective competencies depends on organization design which facilitates the worker-machine-team cooperation.

Methods :
Design guidelines on the work cell, and the organization, enabling human to carry out the activity for his/her performance, learning and health in an agile organization, the methodology concerns 3 steps following the project :
1/ 12 month : An observation grid dedicated to the « Industry of the future » work situations Application of the grid on 10 case studies,
2/ 24 month : Design recommendations favoring the learnings and skills development at the cell level,
3/ 36 month : Design recommendations favoring the learnings and skills development at the organization level.
Several observations of working situations using cobot and numerical devices will be used to design new analysis grids for the improvement of the working conditions. The grid will be established and tested in different companies
and contexts in view of its generalization. The study realized in ARaymond plateform, baxter robot, S-mart Platerform and other companies in France or Europe. The simulation and experiment system of learning condition is required to produce the expertise and line organization.

For further information please download the file

Defining the learning conditions of the workers in the digitalized remanufacturing industry