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With the advent of the fourth industrial revolution called Industry 4.0, the industrial world has shifted further towards automation, where advanced workplaces are replacing existing working stations. Moreover, human-machine collaboration has taken a big leap forward, placing human operators in the centre of attention. As such, this paper forms a review of the lessons learned from the point of view of five EU funded H2020 research projects (A4BLUE, Factory2Fit, INCLUSIVE, HUMAN and MANUWORK, 2016-2020), working in parallel and constituting the Human-Centred Factories (ACE Factories) cluster. Knowledge and technology providers, as well as industrial partners, have grouped together to deliver solutions that will bridge the gap to the factories of the future. The purpose of this white paper is to share the ACE Factories cluster understanding of future human-centred factories and to provide recommendations on how to get this vision into industrial practice. This is a key report of the ACE Factories cluster, which aims to support the replication of successful innovative technologies tested through the end-users of the ACE Factories cluster projects. The core target groups of this report are people in academia, industry practitioners and policy makers at the local, national and EU levels.
The ACE Factories cluster considers five types of factory operators: the augmented and virtual operator, the social and collaborative operator, the super-strong operator, the one-of-a-kind operator, and the healthy and happy operator. Several technologies have been proposed and developed to support these types of operators. The evaluation of these concepts and technologies in ACE industrial cases has provided strong evidence on their benefits on industrial practice. Based on practical and scientific evidence, the ACE Factories cluster has identified several lessons learned and recommendations for successful technology and best practices adoption.