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Factory2Fit Spotlight Feature – Senior Researcher Cemalettin Öztürk

Factory2Fit Spotlight Feature

Senior Researcher Cemalettin Öztürk

United Technologies Research Centre Ireland Limited (UTRC Ireland)

We recently spoke to Cemalettin Öztürk, Senior Researcher with UTRC Ireland, about his role in Factory2Fit and his views on the project.

Thanks for speaking to us today Cemal. Could you start by describing your typical working day?

As a senior researcher at United Technologies Research Centre Ireland Limited (UTRC Ireland), my primary responsibility is to develop innovative solutions on behalf of the businesses of United Technologies Corporation (UTC). UTRC Ireland operates as a subsidiary of United Technologies Research Center based in East Hartford, Connecticut — which serves as the global innovation hub of UTC. Our goal, with every project, is to improve the manufacturing operations, employee and customer experience of each UTC business unit. Hence, pursuing cutting-edge technologies in my domain and developing methods to map those achievements to solve emerging challenges in the industries our business units serve is an essential part of my role at UTRC Ireland. For this reason, prototyping and validating ideas with business units and colleagues represent a typical work day for me.

What do you like most about the role?

The best thing about working in the research industry is that I continuously refresh myself. Any new challenge I face brings an opportunity to expand my expertise and knowledge. As part of UTRC Ireland, I interface with researchers from various domains and thereby find opportunities to implement my expertise in different applications as part of interdisciplinary teams.

How do your professional interests match the objectives of Factory2Fit?

My research background and expertise focuses on using operational research and artificial intelligence methods to solve manufacturing optimisation problems. In the F2F project, I exploit my expertise to support our industrial partners’ efforts to improve their manufacturing systems from a worker-oriented perspective. Main tasks within F2F directly related to my professional interests include:

1.) developing a virtual factory model with discrete event simulation methods to investigate possible improvements in the workplace and

2.) providing decision analytics solutions to optimise manufacturing operations to maximise employee satisfaction.

What is unique about Factory2Fit in your opinion?

The human factor and employee satisfaction have traditionally been considered a somewhat low priority within Europe’s manufacturing community. Furthermore, the human component has been viewed as a bottleneck and the primary source of quality problems. However, recent studies show that increasing only the level of automation in a factory does not help to improve all performance metrics. There will always be a need for multiple skilled employees in factory settings to support and utilise system automation in the most efficient way. This includes factoring human expertise into the decision- making process and using that expertise to ensure rapid response to any failure or changes in the system. Therefore, adapting the manufacturing environment and management policies to improve employee satisfaction, along with providing customised training to equip the workforce with the required skill set, is becoming increasingly crucial for industry players to stay competitive in the marketplace. For this reason, Factory2Fit is pioneering research to develop worker-oriented adaptive manufacturing systems for application within Europe’s industrial sector.

What does Factory2Fit have in common with other EU-funded research projects?

F2F builds on the knowledge and experience gained through previous EU-funded projects and extends both to the next level in collaboration with ongoing EU projects, such as SatisFactory and MANUWORK. In general, as with other projects in the H2020-FOF-2016, Factories of the Future call, F2F essentially aims to equip the human workforce with the necessary skills and technical background to prepare them for the challenges of Industry 4.0. In particular, F2F will focus on incorporating human factor aspects in combination with VR/AR, video analytics and smart manufacturing technologies to empower factory workers through improved satisfaction and wellbeing.

Has anything surprised you in the first six months of the project?

Observing the level of engagement and expertise on the part of our partners in various industry domains has been an important motivating factor for us.

What do you see as the biggest challenge for Factory2Fit?

As the main objective of F2F is re-designing the manufacturing environment and management practices in a way that benefits each factory’s employee base, our research activities are primarily focused on the continuous monitoring of employees in their day-to-day working environments. Conducting this essential observation, however, can contribute to employee anxiety and overall work-related stress… making what we consider the project’s single most critical element also its biggest challenge.

Could you describe the coordination between UTRC Ireland and the other partners? Do you build on each other’s expertise?

At UTRC Ireland, we are leading the F2F pilot study at the HVAC-Culoz factory as well as hosting the demonstration of ideas and technologies under development. Hence, we have been actively involved in all work packages. In addition, we are leading Work Package 5, “Industrial pilots in automated manufacturing environments,” which aims to validate the F2F platform.

Which three key words would you use to describe the overall impact of Factory2Fit?

“Adaptation” is the first word I associate with F2F, since the project is human oriented and aims to adapt Europe’s current manufacturing system to better respond to employee needs and capabilities.

“Satisfaction” can be also used to describe F2F’s impact, as its developed methods consider worker preferences with the goal of maximising employee satisfaction.

“Participation” is another key word reflecting the objectives of F2F. Participatory design of workplace and operating procedures, along with customised training to empower knowledge and opinion sharing among employees, are important elements of human-centric manufacturing concepts.

Thanks for taking the time to speak to us Cemal. We look forward to more updates as the project progresses.