This project aims to reduce the human workload to avoid physical and mental stress, and at the same time minimize the energy consumption for machines and systems. This can be balanced by the use of optimization methods.
Manufacturing systems can have varying degrees of flexibility, a crucial aspect of automation. To increase flexibility, manufacturing systems can use both machines and human operators. This inherently brings about a trade‐off between different levels of automation, where humans are intrinsically more flexible than machines, while machines increase efficiency, accuracy and safety.
Human factors as well as environmental and economic concerns need to be considered when performing optimization. The final performance of the system should be the result of a combination of these criteria. The workload of the human operators can be coordinated to avoid unnecessary physical and psychological stress. It is also possible to look at energy consumption for either individual machinery or for the system as a whole. Even for time critical systems, it can be possible to lower energy consumption by modifying the behavior of each individual machine.