An investigation of a human material handler on part flow in automated manufacturing systems

Dongmin Shin, Richard A. Wysk, Ling Rothrock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This paper presents a formal approach to resolve an important question concerning changes in the control of computerized manufacturing systems when a human operator is involved as a task-performing agent. It requires building a model of human functional specifications used in executing tasks and integrating it into a control scheme for the model. More importantly, analysis of control complexity needs to be conducted to build an effective control mechanism. In this paper, a human material handler is considered, and an assessment of part flow complexity affected by human tasks in a highly automated manufacturing system is presented. For this purpose, a formal model of human task-performing processes is proposed in terms of a part and location(s) of a task. A classification for human material handling tasks is presented based on the proposed model. Furthermore, human errors and the impact of human errors on part flow are considered. Part flow complexity of a manufacturing system from the control perspective is then investigated in terms of the human tasks and errors. A shop floor control example where a human operator performs material handling tasks is provided to illustrate the proposed model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-135
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Part A:Systems and Humans
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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