The factory as a place of value-adding activities is forced to adapt continuously to turbulent conditions. New requirements regarding flexibility, speed, mobility and cost efficiency are some of factory planning. Hence the role of factory planning has developed from a one-time activity to a continuous management task. To achieve optimal results with regard to the new requirements it is necessary to analyze the existing processes and the functionality of the technical equipment at the workplace in detail. Therefore the existing methods of factory planning have to be improved. This paper focuses on the improvement of factory layout planning methods. One of the main areas of research of the Institute for Production Management and Enterprise Research (IFU) is the participatory layout planning. The goal of the research activities is to develop a method to integrate the employees from the shop-floor level into the planning process since they have special knowledge of the processes and technical equipment, which is necessary to achieve optimized planning results. To support the implementation of the participatory factory planning the IFU — in co-operation with the foresee GmbH — started the development of a participatory planning table called T3Pad (Tangible table top to enhance participation and development). The T3Pad is a conventional conference table with an integrated multi-touch display. The use of a gesture based software for layout planning offers the factory planning team the opportunity to design a layout by using the existing knowledge of the “classic” planning departments as well as the special manufacturing experience of the shop-floor employees. In order to realize the participation of the whole planning team the software has to comply with two major requirements: on the one hand the requirement in terms of the database and rules of factory planning; on the other hand the requirement of the usability of the software interfaces. Until now the users of factory planning methods have to adapt themselves to the function mode of computers instead of interacting and communicating in an intuitive way. This leads to limited interaction between user and hardware. The main goal of the T3Pad is an optimal support of the user by the software interface. To reach this goal the IFU started a field study to analyze the adoption of gesture based software interaction.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.