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FABIO GRANDI

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Dipartimento di Scienze e Metodi dell'Ingegneria


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Pubblicazioni

2024 - Human-Centric Design of Automated Production Lines Using Virtual Reality Tools and Human Data Analysis [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Grandi, F.; Khamaisi, R. K.; Morganti, A.; Peruzzini, M.; Pellicciari, M.
abstract

The 4.0 revolution is leading to increasingly automated, flexible, and intelligent manufacturing systems that require greater complexity to manage during maintenance and process control. In this context the optimization of the human-machine interaction plays a crucial important role in the design of modern industrial systems. Virtual Reality (VR) offers realistic simulation environments where users can be involved to replicate specific human tasks, detecting and solving problems before they occur. The paper proposes a human-centric digital design methodology that integrates VR technologies with human data analysis tools to support the design or redesign of complex industrial systems. Different wearable devices have been used to collect data about physical and mental user conditions to provide an early assessment of the operators’ workload, while comparing different design solutions into the virtual space. An industrial use case related to the redesign of packaging automated machines was used to validate the proposed method and tools: a preliminary correlation between physiological parameters and machines interactions was found.


2023 - An integrated methodology for the assessment of stress and mental workload applied on virtual training [Articolo su rivista]
Brunzini, Agnese; Grandi, Fabio; Peruzzini, Margherita; Pellicciari, Marcello
abstract

The importance of training for operators in industrial contexts is widely highlighted in literature. Virtual Reality (VR) is considered an efficient solution for training, since it provides immersive, realistic, and interactive simulations environments promoting a learn-by-doing approach, far from the risks of the real field. Its efficacy has been demonstrated by several studies, but a proper assessment of the operator’s cognitive response in terms of stress and cognitive load during the use of such technology is still lacking. This paper proposes an integrated methodology for the analysis of user’s cognitive states, suitable for each kind of training in the industrial sector and beyond, fostering the human-centred design and manufacturing perspective. The methodology has been assessed using an industrial case study where virtual training is used for assembly of agricultural vehicles. Experimental results highlighted that, with VR additional supportive information, while operators’ errors drastically decrease, the stress increases for complex tasks, due to the greater amount of information to manage. The proposed protocol allows understanding the operators’ cognitive conditions in order to optimize the VR training application, avoiding operators’ stress, mental overload, and improving performance.


2023 - Exploring how to use virtual tours to create an interactive customer remote experience [Articolo su rivista]
Peruzzini, M; Cavallaro, S; Grandi, F; Martinelli, E; De Canio, F
abstract

This paper investigates the use of Virtual Reality (VR) to develop virtual tour applications for marketing purposes. The aim is to explore how virtual technologies can support the creation of knowledge about a specific food product and the achievement of user engagement by a multi-sensory virtual tour of the real production site. The study provides design guidelines to create a valuable, multisensory experience by VR tours and demonstrate how the adoption of a user-driven approach, instead of a technology-driven approach, allows to achieve a positive intention to buy. The case study was represented by one of the excellences among Italian food products, the Parmigiano Reggiano (PR) cheese. The PR virtual tour was validated by a user testing campaign, involving more than 70 users: users' reactions and feedback were collected by human physiological data monitoring and questionnaires' administration. The research results demonstrated how virtual technologies could effectively help people to create a solid knowledge about a food product to support the marketing process and to form an intention to buy thanks to a better understanding of the quality of the local and traditional productions.


2022 - A comprehensive UX index to evaluate industrial tasks from a human-centered perspective [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Khamaisi, R. K.; Grandi, F.; Prati, E.; Peruzzini, M.; Pellicciari, M.
abstract

Recent advances in physiological monitoring devices have supported the diffusion of a human-centric approach also within industrial contexts, where often severe working conditions limit the analysis of the operators’ User eXperience (UX). Several methodologies have been presented to the scientific community to assess the overall UX of workers performing industrial operations. These methodologies have also tried to encompass the diverse aspects of the physiological response (e.g., mental workload, stress conditions and postural overloads). The current study aims to refine a unique and comprehensive UX index to identify the specific causes of the user discomfort in advance and to optimize the overall system design. A full set of non-invasive wearable devices was applied to a virtual reality (VR) simulation while performing manual operations to collect relevant physiological parameters and to finally assess the overall UX. The results demonstrated the effectiveness of the proposed index in anticipating the operator's critical conditions by specifying the possible causes of the ergonomic discomfort. Future works will focus on investigating the theoretical foundation of proposed solution and on providing a statistical validation on a larger population.


2022 - Creation of a UX index to design human tasks and workstations [Articolo su rivista]
Grandi, F.; Peruzzini, M.; Cavallaro, S.; Prati, E.; Pellicciari, M.
abstract

Successful interaction with complex processes, like those in the modern factory, is based on the system’s ability to satisfy the user needs during human tasks, mainly related to performances, physical comfort, usability, accessibility, visibility, and mental workload. However, the ‘real’ user perception is hidden and usually difficult to detect. User eXperience (UX) is a useful concept related to subjective perceptions and responses that result from the interaction with a product, system or process, including users’ emotions, beliefs, preferences, perceptions, physical and psychological responses, behaviors and accomplishments that occur before, during and after use. The paper proposes the creation of a User eXperience Index (UXI) to assess the quality of human-system interaction during job tasks and, consequently, evaluate both process and workstation. The proposed approach has been applied to improve the design of assembly human tasks, using a virtual simulated case study focusing on tractor assembly. Tests with users, with different levels of expertise, allowed us to validate the proposed approach and to optimize the assembly task sequence. Results showed how the proposed UXI can validly objectify the workers’ experience and can be validly used to improve the design of human tasks.


2022 - Design of ergonomic dashboards for tractors and trucks: innovative method and tools [Articolo su rivista]
Grandi, F.; Prati, E.; Peruzzini, M.; Pellicciari, M.; Campanella, C. E.
abstract

Designing highly usable and ergonomic dashboards is fundamental to support users in managing and properly setting complex vehicles, like trains, airplanes, trucks and tractors. Contrarily, control dashboards are usually intrusive, full of controls and not really intuitive or usable. This paper focuses on the design of ergonomic and usable dashboard for specific classes of vehicles, like tractors and trucks. Indeed, trucks and tractors are both vehicles and operating machines, and their control is particularly complex. Indeed, the driver contemporary drives and checks if the machine is working properly. The paper proposes an innovative methodology to design highly usable and compact dashboards inspired by human-centered design and ergonomics principles. The study started by shifting the attention from the machine performance, that is the conventional engineering approach, to the human-system interaction quality, according to a new, transdisciplinary approach. The methodology proposes to combine virtual simulations with human performance analysis to support the design at different stages, from concept generation to detailed design, until testing with users. The methodology uses virtual environments to create digital twins of both driver and controls, making users interact with virtual items and predict the type and nature of interaction. Within virtual scenarios, different configurations of dashboard controls can be easily compared and tested, checking the frequency of use of each control and measuring the achieved human performance related to postural comfort and mental workload. The study adopted the proposed methodology to two industrial use cases focusing on the design of ergonomic dashboards: the former is referred to tractor dashboard and armrest, the latter refers to truck dashboard and seat. Both cases demonstrated that the new methodology allowed improved comfort, higher usability, higher visibility and accessibility, better performance and reduced time for machine control. The study demonstrates how a multidisciplinary user information integration can drive design optimization.


2022 - Digital Technologies to Redesign Automatic Machines with a Human-Centric Approach: Application in Industry [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Grandi, Fabio; Peruzzini, Margherita; Khamaisi, Riccardo Karim; Lettori, Jacopo; Pellicciari, Marcello
abstract

Human factors integration is definitely a transdisciplinary and urgent matter in modern factories. Despite the great surge in factory automation in recent years, human-machine interaction is still a crucial aspect and companies need to take care of the workers' wellbeing and performance to enhance the overall system quality and productivity. Nevertheless, ergonomics is poorly considered during the design of complex industrial systems, such as automatic machinery, especially for the lack of practical methodologies and guidelines to promote human factors from the early stages of design or redesign. To overcome this issue, this work proposes a transdisciplinary approach to redesign automatic machinery in compliance with factory ergonomics, using a combination of digital technologies (e.g., digital human simulation, human physiological data monitoring). The paper defines a structure method and related tools to apply a human-centric approach to industrial cases and their validation of a real case, concerning the redesign of a packaging automatic machine. Results show how the proposed approach is useful to detect possible ergonomic issues at the shop floor, identifying in advance risky situations for the operators during operating or maintenance tasks, and leading to an optimized machine able to enhance the workers’ wellbeing and factory productivity at the same time.


2022 - Transdisciplinary Evaluation of Simulation Software for Industry 4.0 Assembly Lines [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Lettori, Jacopo; Borsato, Milton; Raffaeli, Roberto; Pellicciari, Marcello; Grandi, Fabio; Peruzzini, Margherita
abstract

Industry 4.0 is driving the revolution of manufacturing processes by combining innovative technologies and new interaction paradigms among systems and operators. In particular, the layout, tasks and work sequences of assembly lines are designed according to several transdisciplinary Design Principles (DPs), such as process efficiency, product quality, ergonomics, safety and operators’ workload. A large variety of simulation software can be employed for evaluations. However, the related ability to assess multidisciplinary factors must be evaluated. The paper aims to provide a framework for guiding the assessment of simulation software in the context of Industry 4.0 assembly lines. Process requirements are first analyzed and mapped to select DPs, prioritized according to design goals by an analytical hierarchy process. Then, suitable simulation software is determined accordingly, and the virtual model is realized. Finally, the possibility of the software to provide meaningful elaborations for the selected DPs is assessed. The framework has been tested on a prototypal Industry 4.0 assembly line composed of automated logistic systems, cobots and systems to guide the execution of tasks. The line has been modeled in Siemens Process Simulate, analyzing the completeness and appropriateness of the functionalities of this software according to the defined DPs.


2022 - Trends in Human Factors Integration for the Design of Industry 4.0 [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Grandi, F.; Peruzzini, M.; Raffaeli, R.; Pellicciari, M.
abstract

The fourth industrial revolution is evolving the machines as well as the abilities of people working in the factories. Human roles and tasks are changing, moving from highly physical tasks to decision-making and high-precision activities, asking for different competencies and creating new types of interactions with machines. This paper reviews the design and engineering methods for the inclusion of human factors in modern companies. Human factor integration (HFI) can play a key role in the design of factories with a great impact on social aspects and global process sustainability. The paper proposes a systematic view of the main tools to design human-centered industrial processes, with a specific focus on manufacturing, and discusses trends to achieve and effective HFI.


2022 - Use of Interaction Design Methodologies for Human-Robot Collaboration in Industrial Scenarios [Articolo su rivista]
Prati, E; Villani, V; Grandi, F; Peruzzini, M; Sabattini, L
abstract

The key concept of collaborative robotics is represented by the presence of a strict interaction between a human user and the robotic system. As such, the study of the interaction is of paramount importance for a successful implementation of the system. In this article, we propose a novel approach to address the problem of designing a collaborative robotic system for industrial applications, focusing on the characteristics of the interaction. In particular, we will propose a set of methodologies focused on interaction design, inspired by those used for the design of user interfaces. These methodologies will allow the design of collaborative robotic systems following a user-centered approach, thus putting emphasis not only on safety and adaptability of the robotic systems (which have been widely addressed in the literature), but also on the interaction experience. While the proposed methodology was developed considering general collaborative robotics applications, two real industrial case studies were considered, to instantiate the considered framework and showcase its applicability to the real-world domain.


2022 - UX assessment strategy to identify potential stressful conditions for workers [Articolo su rivista]
Khamaisi, R. K.; Brunzini, A.; Grandi, F.; Peruzzini, M.; Pellicciari, M.
abstract

The European Commission defined the new concept of Industry 5.0 meaning a more human-centric, resilient, and sustainable approach for the design of industrial systems and operations. A deep understanding of the work environment and organization is important to start analysing the working conditions and the resulting User eXperience (UX) of the operators. Also, the knowledge about users’ needs and ergonomics is fundamental to optimize the workers’ wellbeing, working conditions, and industrial results. In this context, the paper presents a strategy to effectively assess the UX of workers to promote human-centric vision of manufacturing sites, enhancing the overall sustainability of the modern factories. A set of non-invasive wearable devices is used to monitor human activities and collect physiological parameters, as well as questionnaires to gather subjective self-assessment. This set-up was applied to virtual reality (VR) simulation, replicating heavy duty work sequence tasks that took place in an oil and gas pipes manufacturing site. This approach allowed the identification of possible stressful conditions for the operator, from physical and mental perspectives, which may compromise the performance. This research was funded by the European Community's HORIZON 2020 programme under grant agreement No. 958303 (PENELOPE).


2022 - UX Evaluation of a Tractor Cabin Digital Twin Using Mixed Reality [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Cavallaro, Sara; Prati, Elisa; Grandi, Fabio; Mangia, Giancarlo; Pellicciari, Marcello; Peruzzini, Margherita
abstract

Understanding user experience (UX) is essential to design engaging and attractive products, so nowadays has emerged an increasingly interest in user- centred design approach; in this perspective, digital technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) could help designers and engineers to create a digital prototype through which the user feedback can be considered during the product design stage. This research aims at creating an interactive Digital Twin (DT) using MR to enable a tractor driving simulation and involve real users to carry out an early UX evaluation, with the scope to validate the design of the control dashboard through a transdisciplinary approach. MR combines virtual simulation with real physical hardware devices which the user can interact with and have control through both visual and tactile feedback. The result is a MR simulator that combines virtual contents and physical controls, capable of reproducing a plowing activity close to reality. The principles of UX design was applied to this research for a continuous and dynamic UX evaluation during the project development.


2021 - A preliminary experimental study on the workers’ workload assessment to design industrial products and processes [Articolo su rivista]
Brunzini, A.; Peruzzini, M.; Grandi, F.; Khamaisi, R. K.; Pellicciari, M.
abstract

The human‐centered design (HCD) approach places humans at the center of design in order to improve both products and processes, and to give users an effective, efficient and satisfy-ing interactive experience. In industrial design and engineering, HCD is very useful in helping to achieve the novel Industry 5.0 concept, based on improving workers’ wellbeing by providing prosperity beyond jobs and growth, while respecting the production limits of the planet as recently promoted by the European Commission. In this context, the paper proposes an ergonomic assessment method based on the analysis of the workers’ workload to support the design of industrial products and processes. This allows the simultaneous analysis of the physical and cognitive workload of operators while performing their tasks during their shift. The method uses a minimum set of non‐invasive wearable devices to monitor human activity and physiological parameters, in addition to questionnaires for subjective self‐assessment. The method has been preliminarily tested on a real industrial case in order to demonstrate how it can help companies to support the design of optimized products and processes promoting the workers’ wellbeing.


2021 - A Reference Framework to Combine Model-Based Design and AR to Improve Social Sustainability [Articolo su rivista]
Grandi, Fabio; Khamaisi, Riccardo Karim; Peruzzini, Margherita; Raffaeli, Roberto; Pellicciari, Marcello
abstract

Product and process digitalization is pervading numerous areas in the industry to improve quality and reduce costs. In particular, digital models enable virtual simulations to predict product and process performances, as well as to generate digital contents to improve the general workflow. Digital models can also contain additional contents (e.g., model-based design (MBD)) to provide online and on-time information about process operations and management, as well as to support operator activities. The recent developments in augmented reality (AR) offer new specific interfaces to promote the great diffusion of digital contents into industrial processes, thanks to flexible and robust applications, as well as cost-effective devices. However, the impact of AR applications on sustainability is still poorly explored in research. In this direction, this paper proposed an innovative approach to exploit MBD and introduce AR interfaces in the industry to support human intensive processes. Indeed, in those processes, the human contribution is still crucial to guaranteeing the expected product quality (e.g., quality inspection). The paper also analyzed how this new concept can benefit sustainability and define a set of metrics to assess the positive impact on sustainability, focusing on social aspects.


2021 - A training methodology based on virtual reality to promote the learning-by-doing approach [Articolo su rivista]
Grandi, F.; Peruzzini, M.; Cavallaro, S.; Pellicciari, M.
abstract

Virtual reality (VR) training allows companies to train their workforce thanks to virtually simulated environments, leveraging the skills of people before the system production with the final aim to reduce the downtime of productive equipment and improve the global factory efficiency. However, the use of VR immersive training is still limited in industry due to the lack of structured methodologies to effectively implement these simulations. This paper deals with the application of VR technologies to create virtual training simulations addressing assembly or maintenance tasks. It suggests a methodology to create an interactive virtual space in which operators can perform predefined tasks in a realistic way, having dedicated instructions to support the learn-by-doing, based on key training features (KTFs). This methodology was applied to an industrial case study concerning some specific tractor assembly phases. Results show that operators generally appreciate this new training process, enabling faster and more intuitive learning.


2021 - Benchmark on Human Simulation Tools: A Transdisciplinary Approach [Capitolo/Saggio]
Grandi, Fabio; Cavallaro, Sara; Peruzzini, Margherita; Raffaeli, Roberto; Pellicciari, Marcello
abstract

Nowadays companies have to face a competitive market that requires small volumes with a high level of customisations. In this context, assembly quality and timeliness is crucial. To guarantee flexibility and personalization, manual operations still have a crucial role for a lot of manufacturing sectors, so that workers' conditions and ergonomics are important factors to achieve a better product quality and overall cost reduction. Ergonomics evaluation in manufacturing is a challenging and expensive activity that requires a transdisciplinary approach, to merge technical and social sciences to finally have a consolidated and reliable evaluation. This paper compared two digital human simulations tools offered by Siemens Tecnomatix: Jack and Process Simulate. They were applied on the same industrial case study, concerning the hood assembly of an agricultural machine, comparing results on ergonomics reports and usage time. Results confirmed the advantage of adopting a digital approach to predict the human effort and ergonomic risk related to a series of tasks. At the same time, they showed the major strengths and weaknesses of the two analysed tools and defined how they can be successfully adopted by companies. The paper finally provided guidelines to drive companies in choosing the best tool according to their needs.


2021 - E-commerce Usability Guidelines for Visually Impaired Users [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Prati, E.; Pozzi, S.; Grandi, F.; Peruzzini, M.
abstract

The growing diffusion of fashion e-commerce websites shows the appreciation by users, highlighting the importance of offering this service also to users with different disabilities. To this end, e-commerce should be not only accessible - implementing all the technical requirements for accessibility - but also usable, paying attention to the offered user experience. This study aims to investigate the current e-commerce usability considering visually impaired users’ navigation experience and understand which aspects define a good usability level for this target. An expert analysis of a set of fashion e-commerce websites and user testing were conducted, considering five different market segment categories. The analysis highlighted a gap in the consideration of visually impaired users’ navigation needs and style, as for instance non-uniformity of layout and page structure. All the findings have been structured in usability guidelines to favor the e-commerce usability improvement, with the goal of offering visually impaired users a better shopping experience.


2021 - Usability Testing on Tractor’s HMI: A Study Protocol [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Prati, E.; Grandi, F.; Peruzzini, M.
abstract

The success of a human-machine interface (HMI) heavily depends on its usability. An highly usable interface allows the user to more easily achieve his/her goals and in general have a better User eXperience (UX). In work environments, a structured and ready-to-use usability testing protocol can encourage companies to carry out this type of study and focus on UX from the early design phases. Even though numerous methods to test usability exist, industrial companies still have great difficulties to apply them and choose the best ones for the specific purposes. They should be guided into the analysis by a universal step-by-step approach, which helps also not experienced designers selecting the most reliable and useful methods among the available ones. In this direction, the paper proposes a structured protocol to focus on UX and guide companies in testing setup, execution and debriefing in an easy and quick way. Checklists are defined to help during user testing and assure its success. As a consequence, end users can be easily involved to give an added value in design problems identification. The novelty of this paper is the definition of a ready-to-use study protocol that can also be used by non-usability experts, in order to make them familiar with UX analysis and extend this practice also in industrial HMI design. As validation, the proposed protocol was applied to the design of interfaces for agricultural tractors during two different stages of the HMI redesign process.


2021 - Using virtual manufacturing to design human-centric factories: an industrial case [Articolo su rivista]
Peruzzini, M.; Grandi, F.; Cavallaro, S.; Pellicciari, M.
abstract

Virtual reality (VR) offers a promising set of technologies to digitally simulate industrial processes and interaction between humans and machines. However, the use of immersive VR simulations is still limited in industry due to the uncertainty of benefits in respect with traditional digital tools, and the lack of structured methodologies to effectively implement immersive virtual simulations in practice. This paper deals with the application of VR to create virtual manufacturing simulations with the aim to design assembly lines in compliance with factory ergonomics. It proposes a methodology to allow the virtualization and simulation of assembly tasks using a combination of VR tools by replicating, or rather anticipating, what would happen at the shop floor. The adopted tools are Unity 3D for virtual environment generation, HTC VIVE to immerse the user in the virtual factory layout, Xsens as tracking system, and Leap Motion for gesture recognition. The paper also compares the new VR-based procedure with a more traditional desktop-based digital simulation on industrial cases. Results show that the new methodology is more precise to detect the operator’s comfort angles and more powerful to predict process criticalities and optimize factory layout design. At the same time, it is less sensitive to errors during ergonomic assessment related to the expert’s subjectivity during the analysis.


2021 - Virtual Tours to Promote the Remote Customer Experience [Capitolo/Saggio]
Cavallaro, Sara; Grandi, Fabio; Peruzzini, Margherita; De Canio, Francesca
abstract

Today, virtual reality and augmented reality can allow people to interact with products and places in a very realistic way. In this direction, the use of immersive virtual tours (VTs) can improve the users' experience, their perceptions, attitudes and even intended behaviours as potential or actual consumers. The paper focuses on a traditional Italian cheese product and defines a transdisciplinary, multimodal approach where VT helps the remote customer experience based on a VT application to virtually visit a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese dairy, using cutting- edge virtual reality set-up. The paper describes how to create a virtual tour of industrial plants by mapping the main actions, from the storytelling definition, to the plant digitization, until the creation of the virtual, immersive and multimodal application using Unity3D. The VT combines visual experience with gesture recognition and audio stimulation, adding also olfactory cues, in order to create an interactive and realistic experience.


2021 - Virtual training for assembly tasks: a framework for the analysis of the cognitive impact on operators [Articolo su rivista]
Brunzini, Agnese; Grandi, Fabio; Peruzzini, Margherita; Pellicciari, Marcello
abstract

The importance of training for operators in industrial contexts is widely highlighted in literature. Virtual Reality (VR) technology is considered an efficient solution for training, since it provides immersive, realistic, and interactive simulations environments where the operator can learn-by-doing, far from the risks of the real field. Its efficacy has been demonstrated by several studies, but a proper assessment of the operator’s cognitive response in terms of stress and cognitive load, during the use of such technology, is still lacking. This paper proposes a comprehensive methodology for the analysis of user’s cognitive states, suitable for each kind of training in the industrial sector and beyond. Preliminary feasibility analysis refers to virtual training for assembly of agricultural vehicles. The proposed protocol analysis allowed understanding the operators’ loads to optimize the VR training application, considering the mental demand during the training, and thus avoiding stress, mental overload, improving the user performance.


2020 - A Multi-disciplinary Assessments Tool for Human-Machine Interaction [Capitolo/Saggio]
Peruzzini, Margherita; Grandi, Fabio; Pellicciari, Marcello; Berselli, Giovanni; Andrisano, Angelo Oreste
abstract

Human-centered design is based on the satisfaction of the user needs mainly related to performances, interaction, usability, accessibility, and visibility issues. However, the quality of the interaction process is hidden and usually difficult to detect. The paper proposes a multi-disciplinary assessment tool for the evaluation of the human-machine interaction, based on the collection of physiological data and anthropometrical performance data. Such a method can be used both within on-field tests and virtual simulations, supporting the spread of digital approaches in industry. The methodology allows objectifying how users interact with machine or interface items, thanks to the collection of the users’ performance during task execution, the digitalization of collected data, and the evaluation of users’ physical and mental workload. Such a system has been applied to an industrial case study focusing on agricultural machinery driving and control to support the system re-design in terms of interface features, commands’ location and grouping, and positioning of additional devices.


2020 - A Transdisciplinary digital approach for tractor’s human-centred design [Articolo su rivista]
Grandi, F.; Zanni, L.; Peruzzini, M.; Pellicciari, M.; Campanella, C. E.
abstract

Transdisciplinarity is characterising numerous research areas, in which natural sciences are integrated with technical and social sciences, requiring mixed methodologies for achieving full sustainability. However, there is a lack of engineering methods and design tools able to effectively integrate the analysis of human performance and social impacts with technical issues during product and process design. In this context, digital manufacturing tools and virtual simulation technologies can be validly used to create interactive digital mock-ups where human-system interaction during manufacturing operations can be simulated to support product and process design. The paper proposes a mixed reality (MR) set-up to support human-centred product and process design, where systems and humans interacting with them are monitored and digitalised to easily evaluate the human-machine interaction, with the scope to have feedback for design optimisation. Such an approach is defined as trans disciplinary since it merges technical design issues and human perspectives to design products on the basis of effective human performance, with the goal to early detect design criticalities and improve the overall system design. Industrial use cases have been developed to demonstrate the validity of the proposed approach to support human-centred design of a tractor. Results have demonstrated potential improvements, in terms of time saving for design review and workers’ training, reduction of physical prototypes for design validation, reduction of late design and engineering changes, reduction of ergonomic issues, and global positive impact on time-to-market.


2020 - Application of Innovative Tools to Design Ergonomic Control Dashboards [Capitolo/Saggio]
Grandi, Fabio; Peruzzini, Margherita; Campanella, Claudia E.; Pellicciari, Marcello
abstract

Designing highly usable and ergonomic control dashboards is fundamental to support the user in managing and properly setting complex machines, like trains, airplanes, trucks and tractors. Contrarily, control dashboards are usually big, intrusive, full of controls and not really usable for different users. This paper focuses on the re-design of an ergonomic and compact dashboard for tractor control, proposing an innovative methodology in line with human-centered design and ergonomics principles. The study started by shifting the focus from how a machine works to how a task has to be performed and how the user interacts with the machine. It uses virtual simulations and human performance analysis tools to support the concept generation and the detailed design, and to test the new idea with users in the virtual lab. Indeed, within the virtual environment, different configurations of controls can be tested, checking which controls are mostly used and measuring human performance indexes (i.e., postural comfort and mental workload) for each configuration. Virtual mannequins can be used to as “digital twins” to interact with virtual items and to calculate robust comfort indicators during task execution. The study adopted the proposed methodology to an industrial use case to develop a usable and compact armrest for a new tractor platform. The new armrest is smaller than the previous one (-30% in dimensions), more usable (keeping on board only frequent controls, better positioned), and more comfortable (it satisfies 95% of the population size). This new approach could be used also for the design of new products.


2020 - Exploring the potential of Operator 4.0 interface and monitoring [Articolo su rivista]
Peruzzini, Margherita; Grandi, Fabio; Pellicciari, Marcello
abstract

In the context of smart factories, where intelligent machines share data and support enhanced functionalities at a factory level, workers are still seen as spectators rather than active players (Hermann, Pentek, & Otto, 2017). Instead, Industry 4.0 represents a great opportunity for workers to become part of the intelligent system; on one hand, operators can generate data to program machines and optimize the process flows, on the other hand they can receive useful information to support their work and cooperate with smart systems (Romero et al., 2016). Diversely from machines, humans are naturally smart, flexible and intelligent, so putting the operators in the digital loop can bring more powerful and efficient factories. The paper aims at defining a theoretical human-centered framework for Operator 4.0, and testing its feasibility and impact on companies, thanks to the integration of human factors in 4.0 computerized industrial contexts. The proposed framework is based on data collection about the workers’ performance, actions and reactions, with the final objective to improve the overall factory performance and organization. Data are used to assess the workers’ ergonomics performance and perceived comfort and to build a proper knowledge about the human asset of the factory, to be integrated with the knowledge derived from machine data collection. The framework is cased on the adoption of an Operator 4.0 monitoring system, which consists of an eye tracking and a wearable biosensor, combined to a proper protocol analysis to interpret data and create a solid knowledge. Virtual prototypes are used to make the workers interact with the digital factory to conveniently simulate the human–machine interaction (HMI) in order to avoid bottlenecks at the shop floor, to optimize the workflows, and to improve the workstations’ design and layout. The study represents a step toward the design of human-centred industrial systems, including human factors in the digital twin. The research approach has been successfully tested on an industrial case study, developed in collaboration with CNH Industrial, for the re-design of assembly workstations.


2020 - Novel Robotic Cell Architecture for Zero Defect Intelligent Deburring [Articolo su rivista]
Schmidt, Juliana; Grandi, Fabio; Peruzzini, Margherita; Raffaeli, Roberto; Pellicciari, Marcello
abstract


2020 - Transdisciplinary Assessment Matrix to Design Human-Machine Interaction [Capitolo/Saggio]
Grandi, Fabio; Peruzzini, Margherita; Raffaeli, Roberto; Pellicciari, Marcello
abstract

Designing highly usable and ergonomic control dashboards is fundamental to support the user in managing and properly setting complex machines, like trains, airplanes, trucks and tractors. Contrarily, control dashboards are usually big, intrusive, full of controls and not really usable for different users. This paper focuses on the re-design of an ergonomic and compact dashboard for tractor control, proposing an innovative methodology in line with human-centered design and ergonomics principles. The study started by shifting the focus from how a machine works to how a task has to be performed and how the user interacts with the machine. It uses virtual simulations and human performance analysis tools to support the concept generation and the detailed design, and to test the new idea with users in the virtual lab. Indeed, within the virtual environment, different configurations of controls can be tested, checking which controls are mostly used and measuring human performance indexes (i.e., postural comfort and mental workload) for each configuration. Virtual mannequins can be used to as “digital twins” to interact with virtual items and to calculate robust comfort indicators during task execution. The study adopted the proposed methodology to an industrial use case to develop a usable and compact armrest for a new tractor platform. The new armrest is smaller than the previous one (-30% in dimensions), more usable (keeping on board only frequent controls, better positioned), and more comfortable (it satisfies 95% of the population size). This new approach could be used also for the design of new products.


2019 - An automatic procedure based on virtual ergonomic analysis to promote human-centric manufacturing [Articolo su rivista]
Grandi, Fabio; Peruzzini, Margherita; Zanni, Luca; Pellicciari, Marcello
abstract

Today manufacturing enterprises aim not only to deliver high-value, cost-effectively products in a sustainable way, but also to consider the quality of the working environments. The analysis of human factors, which strongly affect time and quality of manufacturing processes, are crucial for satisfying people involved in the manufacturing process and making them safe, preventing diseases, errors and excessive workload. The paper presents a structured procedure to automatically extract data from virtual analysis made by digital manufacturing tools and measure a set of indicators to validly assess manufacturing ergonomics. The research considers the state of the art in manufacturing ergonomics and defines a set of indicators suitable for manufacturing manual operations, focusing on assembly tasks. Furthermore, it defines a methodology to automatically extract data valorising the selected indicators and an application, based on Visual Basic, to generate the specific task list and related assessment. The result is a rapid and objective assessment, independent from the experience of the user, which can be executed during process design. The procedure has been applied to an industrial case study, where the manual assembly of cabin supports on the tractor chassis has been analysed in order to correct the most uncomfortable steps and obtain a more ergonomic process. A decrease of the EAWS score, calculated with the proposed method, allowed to validate the proposed solution, suggesting a redesign of the assembly cycle to improve the working conditions. Such a procedure anticipates the analysis of the workers’ wellbeing during the design stage to support the definition of human-centric manufacturing processes, simplifying and accelerating the assessment activities.


2019 - Ergonomic and compact armrest of agricultural tractors: Innovative methods to design an ergonomic armrest [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Campanella, C.; Huber, K.; Monacelli, G.; Ungaretti, L.; D'Orazio, M.; Scotto Di vetta, G.; Peruzzini, M.; Grandi, F.
abstract

Armrest in tractors is like a control dashboard for trains or airplanes; it is fundamental for managing and properly setting the machine. For this reason, there is the need to adjust it for each operator’s size and application. Nowadays, armrests are usually very big and intrusive, because they are full of controls and sometimes they are not really comfortable for each user size and need. Furthermore, agricultural equipment is often used under difficult conditions: steep terrain and extreme weather conditions require products able to guarantee total safety and maximum comfort, minimizing the risk of human error caused by excessive fatigue. The aim of the project is to create an “ergonomic - compact armrest”, focused on the users’ need, with the application of Ergonomics and Human Machine Interface (HMI) principles, shifting the focus from how a machine works to how a task is performed. For designing the “ergonomic - compact armrest” a new system based on the collection of “real” users biomechanical performance within a virtual lab was adopted. In this virtual environment, it was possible to test many different configurations of controls, checking which controls are mostly used, and measure the comfort index and mental work load for each configuration. On this basis, a “digital twin” of the user was created, consisting in a set of scalable virtual manikins that can interact with virtual items, and a comfort index was defined as an objective and reliable measure to evaluate workload during any task execution. Thanks to this new methodology, the “ergonomic - compact armrest” is 30% smaller than the previous one, but at the same time it accommodates in comfort the 95% of the population size, keeping on board only frequent controls positioned in ergonomic way. The results of this study could be used for other tractors controls layout design, so that human comfort can be improved and any task can be felt as natural as possible, encouraging good posture and safe behaviours, and reducing cost of prototypes and time to market.


2019 - UNA CONFIGURACIÓN DE REALIDAD VIRTUAL MULTIMODAL PARA EL DISEÑO CENTRADO EN EL SER HUMANO DE ESTACIONES DE TRABAJO INDUSTRIALES [Articolo su rivista]
Peruzzini, Margherita; Pellicciari, Marcello; Grandi, Fabio; ORESTE ANDRISANO, Angelo
abstract

Although the so-called Industry 4.0 trend is promoting the increasing automation of processes in the factories of the future, manual activities still play an extremely important role within the factory and human factors greatly affect the process performance. However, the analysis of human- machine interaction and the prediction of human performance in industry are difficult but crucial to have an optimized design of workspaces and interfaces, reducing time and cost of implementation, and avoiding late design changes. This research adopts a multimodal human-centered approach for the analysis of human-machine interaction, and proposes a multimodal experimental set-up for the evaluation of the workers’ experience to support the design of industrial workstations. The set-up combines virtual mock-ups, interaction with both physical and virtual objects, and monitoring sensors to track users and analyze their actions and reactions. It allows creating a multimodal environment able to deepen the interaction between humans and systems or interfaces, to support design activities. Indeed, it has been demonstrated that the analysis of the reactions of the users involved, allows to evaluate the quality of the interaction, identify the critical issues, define corrective actions, and propose guidelines for system design or redesign [1]. The paper describes the application of the proposed set-up on two industrial case studies and reports the main results.


2019 - User experience analysis based on physiological data monitoring and mixed prototyping to support human-centre product design [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Peruzzini, Margherita; Grandi, Fabio; Pellicciari, Marcello; Campanella, Claudia Elisabetta
abstract

Human-centred design is based on the satisfaction of the user needs mainly related to performances, interaction, comfort, usability, accessibility, and visibility issues. However, the “real” user experience (UX) is hidden and usually difficult to detect. The paper proposes a multimodal system based on the collection of physiological and anthropometrical performance data on field and within a mixed prototyping set-up. The mixed environment makes users interact with virtual and digital items and users’ performance to be capture and digitalized, simulating human-machine interaction, while physiological and anthropometrical data collection allows to objectify the users’ physical and mental workload during task execution. Such a system has been applied to an industrial case study focusing on agricultural machinery driving and control to support the definition of a new cabin and its control board, in terms of seat features, commands’ positioning and grouping, and positioning of additional devices.


2018 - A mixed-reality digital set-up to support design for serviceability [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Peruzzini, Margherita; Grandi, Fabio; Pellicciari, Marcello; Campanella, Claudia Elisabetta
abstract

Design for serviceability begins with understanding the customer needs related to availability, reliability, accessibility and visibility, and aims at designing optimized systems where maintenance operations are easy and intuitive in order to reduce the time to repair and service costs. However, service actions are difficult to predict in front of a traditional CAD model. In this context, digital manufacturing tools and virtual simulation technologies can be validly used to create mixed digital environments where service tasks can be simulated in advance to support product design and improve maintenance actions. Furthermore, the use of human monitoring sensors can be used to detect the stressful conditions and to optimize the human tasks. The paper proposes a mixed reality (MR) set-up where operators are digitalized and monitored to analyse both physical and cognitive ergonomics. It is useful to predict design criticalities and improve the global system design. An industrial case study has been developed in collaboration with CNH Industrial to demonstrate how the proposed set-up is used for design for serviceability, on the basis of experimental evidence.


2018 - Digital Manufacturing and Virtual Reality for Tractors' Human-Centred Design [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Grandi, Fabio; Peruzzini, Margherita; Zanni, Luca; Campanella Claudia, Elisabetta; Pellicciari, Marcello
abstract

Human-centred design is based on the satisfaction of the user needs related to performances, aesthetics, reliability, usability, accessibility and visibility issues, costs, and many other aspects. The combination of all these aspects has been called as “perceived quality”, that is definitely a transdisciplinary topic. However, the “real” perceived quality is usually faithfully assessed only at the end of the design process, while it is very difficult to predict on 3D CAD model. In this context, digital manufacturing tools and virtual simulation technologies can be validly used according to a transdisciplinary approach to create interactive digital mock-ups where the human-system interaction can be simulated and the perceived quality assessed in advance. The paper proposes a mixed reality (MR) set-up where systems and humans interacting with them are digitalized and monitored to easily evaluate the human-machine interaction. It is useful to predict the design criticalities and to improve the global system design. An industrial case study has been developed in collaboration with CNH Industrial to demonstrate how the proposed set-up can be validly used to support human-centred design.


2018 - How to analyse the workers’ experience in integrated product-process design [Articolo su rivista]
Peruzzini, Margherita; Grandi, Fabio; Pellicciari, Marcello
abstract

he analysis of workers’ ergonomics and human factors is assuming a great importance in product and process design for modern industry. However, there is a lack of common references and structured protocols for the assessment of workers’ experience in industrial practices in an effective and predictive way. As a result, designers are poorly supported in the application of digital technologies, which are demonstrating to have a great potential. This ascertainment suggested defining a reference model to analyse the so-called user experience (UX) of workers and a proper technological set-up based on virtual simulations in order to support human-centred product-process design. Indeed, the recent advances in ubiquitous computing, wearable technologies and low-cost connected devices offer a huge amount of new tools for human data monitoring. However, the open issue is selecting the most proper devices for industrial application area in respect with design goals, using virtual simulation and digital manufacturing tools. The research proposed a structured procedure to use existing digital technologies to support product-process design to analyse the workers behaviours and assess the perceived experience for industrial scopes. The paper defined a structured protocol analysis to objectify and measure the workers’ experience with the final aim to support the requirements definition in product-process design by using digital technologies. In particular, the model has been defined for the automotive sector. The paper contribution is the definition of the protocol analysis and the development of a mixed reality (MR) set- up to involve real users’ and to improve the digital models. Such a protocol has been applied to different industrial cases related to product and process design, developed in collaboration with CNH Industrial. The comparison with traditional design procedures highlighted the benefits of adopting virtual mock-up and digital simulation within a MR environment to shorten design time and improve the design overall quality.


2017 - A reference model to analyse User eXperience in integrated product-process design [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Peruzzini, Margherita; Grandi, Fabio; Pellicciari, Marcello
abstract

The analysis of human factors is assuming an increasing importance in product and process design and the lack of common references for their assessment in industrial practices had driven to define a reference model to analyse the so-called User eXperience (UX) to support human-centred product-process design. Indeed, the recent advances in ubiquitous computing, wearable technologies and low-cost connected devices offer a huge amount of new tools for UX monitoring, but the main open issue is selecting the most proper devices for the specific application area and properly interpreting the collected information content in respect with the industrial design goals. The research investigates how to analyse the human behaviours of “users” (i.e., workers) by a reference model to assess the perceived experience and a set of proper technologies for UX investigation for industrial scopes. In particular, the model has been defined for the automotive sector. The paper defines a set of evaluation metrics and a structured protocol analysis to objectify and measure the UX with the final aim to support the requirements definition in product-process design. The model has been defined to fit different cases: vehicle drivers at work, workers in the manufacturing line, and service operators


2017 - An overview of user experience assessment methods and tools in integrated product-process design [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Peruzzini, Margherita; Grandi, Fabio; Pellicciari, Marcello; Mengoni, Maura
abstract

The analysis of user experience (UX) is based on the combined investigation of the individual perceptions, the perceived comfort factors, as well as the human factors. Such experience cannot be objective- ly measured, but requires a variety of ways to capture the user-related knowledge and to define a set of expe- rience-based descriptions to elicit the non-measurable, intangible conditions. UX analysis is helpful to both support interaction as well as to prevent and reduce human errors, with consequent advantages for product quality, company productivity, and users’ wellbeing and safety. Traditionally, UX is fully analyzed on physi- cal prototypes, where the physical and mental workload could be tested and measured by involving sample users. Nevertheless, building physical prototypes increases development cycle times and costs, and provides a late assessment. On the other hand, virtual prototyping can anticipate numerous design issues, but hardly inte- grate the analysis of human factors. Thus, there is a strong need for integrating UX monitoring in the design and verification stages of industrial products and processes by coupling advanced simulation techniques and user monitoring tools. This paper explores how to assess UX during product and process design by digital manufacturing tools. It provides an overview of the scientific state of art on the most common methods and tools to support the human-centered design and presents the results of a survey on more than 100 scientific and industrial papers on international journals and relevant conferences, focusing on the existing methods, tools and applications on the UX assessment to be used in product and process design by researchers and companies. The research also identifies the milestone references to support the UX assessment within indus- trial practices, also including ubiquitous computing, wearable technologies and low-cost connected devices, and points out the main open issues.


2017 - Benchmarking of Tools for User Experience Analysis in Industry 4.0 [Articolo su rivista]
Peruzzini, Margherita; Grandi, Fabio; Pellicciari, Marcello
abstract

Industry 4.0 paradigm is based on systems communication and cooperation with each other and with humans in real time to improve process performances in terms of productivity, security, energy efficiency, and cost. Although industrial processes are more and more automated, human performance is still the main responsible for product quality and factory productivity. In this context, understanding how workers interact with production systems and how they experience the factory environment is fundamental to properly model the human interaction and optimize the processes. This research investigates the available technologies to monitor the user experience (UX) and defines a set of tools to be applied in the Industry 4.0 scenario to assure the workersâ wellbeing, safety and satisfaction and improve the overall factory performance.


2017 - Virtual Maintenance Simulation for Socially Sustainable Serviceability [Articolo su rivista]
Peruzzini, Margherita; Grandi, Fabio; Pellicciari, Marcello; Campanella, Claudia
abstract

In order to achieve more sustainable development processes, industries need not only to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs, but also to increase the operatorsâ wellbeing to promote social sustainability. In this context, the present research focuses on the definition of a methodology based on human-centred virtual simulation to improve the social sustainability of maintenance tasks by enhancing system design and improving its serviceability. It is based on the operatorsâ involvement and the analysis of their needs from the early design stages on virtual mock-ups. The methodology proposed merges a protocol analysis for human factors assessment and an immersive virtual simulation where immersive serviceability simulations can be used during design phases. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method, an industrial use case has been carried out in collaboration with CNH Industrial.