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Time: Fri 2024-05-03 12.15 - 13.00

Location: Online – Zoom

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Ms Amberlynn Bonello; Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Malta, Malta; 

Seminar description 

The employment of Industry 4.0 technologies in manufacturing has paved the way to interlinked machinery, shop floor flexibility and personalised production. However, despite the amplified level of productivity and efficiency, such advances may also take a toll on the operators’ skills and well-being. Over and above, worker diversification culminates in the novel ideology of Industry 5.0; where a triad is established between sustainability, human-centricity, and resilience within manufacturing. This broadens the horizon for worker diversification, especially for people with disabilities who may be estranged from the manufacturing shop floor due to an absence of accessibility, stigma, and other lingering challenges. In pursuit of comprehending these hurdles in the form of themes, a set of interviews were conducted with designers and engineers from a range of manufacturing companies, followed by a Reflexive Thematic Analysis Exercise. Three umbrella themes and eight sub-themes revealed an apparent level of friction between manufacturing engineers and the potential of recruiting operators with disabilities, a lack of design knowledge in creating inclusive workstations, and an absence of social sustainability with respect 2 to disability employment in manufacturing. Accordingly, two major areas for future work by engineers, designers and academics are also proposed.

This seminar aspires to kick-start a cross-disciplinary discussion with academics, industrial engineers and individuals from the psychosocial discipline. Such an indispensable conversation shall yield recollection of experiences of recruiting people with disabilities on the manufacturing shopfloor, the hurdles encountered and what is the way forward in the age of Industry 5.0. 

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woman looking into the camera
Photo: UM Innovate Team of Photographers

Amberlynn Bonello is a student reaching for a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D) and is in her second year of studies. Having graduated from her Bachelors Degree with First Class Honours upon successful defense of her thesis on safety in human-robot collaboration, her area of expertise is human-centric, sustainable and inclusive design. Ms Bonello has worked on multiple Erasmus+ projects such as the ICARUS project, the BLISS project and the SME5.0 project, with collaborations both in Europe and the USA. Her studies were recognised as contributing an outstanding social impact in the field of manufacturing and disability studies by UMInnovate, the innovation and knowledge hub of the University of Malta.

Connection to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Owing to the multi-disciplinary topic covered, the seminar shall tackle 3 main SDGs:
SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities 

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