Testing ground Operator Support ends, support for companies remains!

Bart Verlinden

Customers and their products are changing rapidly, the manufacturing industry is adapting. To remain competitive, production systems must be increasingly agile and smart, with the operator taking on an increasingly important role. This calls for solutions that can reduce the physical and cognitive strain on operators, which is why Sirris set up a testing ground on operator support. The project is now coming to an end, a good opportunity to present the results!

In recent years, customer demands on manufacturing companies have changed: customers want more complex, personalised products with high added value in smaller series and with short lead times at the lowest possible cost. These requirements result in increased complexity in production: a greater variety of products must be produced in a cost and time-efficient manner. To manage this complexity - and thus be more agile - production systems must become smarter.

As a result of the growing complexity in production, the workload in the manufacturing industry has increased significantly in recent years. In addition, technically skilled personnel is hard to find (and sometimes even harder to keep). To remain competitive, it is therefore necessary to deploy operators in value-added operations (where their skills are fully utilised). Operators will therefore have to be supported in their work.

Innovative technology for support

Technological progress within the framework of Industry 4.0 offers a solution here. Various innovative technologies can be used to support the operator in order to reduce both the physical and cognitive strain on operators. This should lead to so-called workable work. But how to go about it? Industry 4.0 encompasses a gigantic number of technologies and applications, which makes it difficult for (small and medium-sized) manufacturing companies to see the wood for the trees.

Within the initiative Industry 4.0 in Flanders, Sirris launched a testing ground on this theme in 2018 with the support of VLAIO. The objectives of this pilot project were many:

  1. Providing an overview of possible technologies to support operators in the broad manufacturing industry
  2. Developing inspirational demonstrators that make these technologies tangible
  3. Organising workshops/master classes so that the companies could get a taste of these technologies.

Initiatives within the testing ground

Here are a few interesting initiatives that we were realised within the framework of the testing ground:

Deployment of cobots

Mobile robots for optimising production-logistics tasks

Digital work instructions

A review of the testing ground and its activities can be downloaded here. (in Dutch)

An inspiring video can be seen here.


Support remains

Even though the project ends at the end of June 2021, the project partners would like to continue to support the companies. Do you have questions about operator support and do you want to transform as a company? Make sure to contact us!

Testing ground Operator Support

You can find more information about the testing ground Operator Support via the following link Testing ground Operator Support. With the support of VLAIO in the context of Industry 4.0


Do you have a question?

Send them to innovation@sirris.be