19. The benefits of human-centred design in industrial practices: re-design of workstations in pipe industry
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy
Sustainable Manufacturing (SM) traditionally focused on optimization of environmental and economic aspects, by neglecting the human performance. However, recent studies (Zink, 2005) demonstrated how industrial plant’s costs, productivity and process quality highly depend on the individual human performance (e.g., comfort perceived, physical and mental workload, simplicity of actions, personal satisfaction) and how much hazardous positions and uncomfortable tasks finally costs to the company. The present paper defines a human-centred virtual simulation environment to optimize both physical and cognitive ergonomics in workstation design and demonstrates its benefits on an industrial case study in pipe industry. The proposed environment aims at overcoming traditional approaches, where analysis are carried out at the shop-floor when the plant is already finished, by providing a virtual environment to easily test and verify different design solutions to optimize physical, cognitive and organizational ergonomics.
72. Investigation into the applicability of a passive upper-limb exoskeleton in automotive industry
1Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Italy SpA, Corso Agnelli 200, 10135 Torino Italy; 2Politecnico di Torino, Italy
The fourth industrial revolution faces the technological challenge of human-robot cooperation in manufacturing process. Aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness and user’s acceptance of a passive exoskeleton for upper limbs. Three different tests, involving static and dynamic tasks, were performed by 29 automotive operators without and with the exoskeleton. Main aspects and results of the testing campaign are presented in the paper. Potential issues associated to the introduction of these auxiliary devices in the automotive industry are briefly addressed, together with the open questions on how to assess the biomechanical workload risk, especially in the design phase.
77. On immersive Virtual Environments for assessing human-driven assembly of large mechanical parts
1National Technical University of Athens, Greece; 2Ecole National d’ Ingenieurs de St Etienne (ENISE), 58 rue Jean Parot, 42023 Saint-Etienne, France
Α mechanical product is often assembled by humans in one or more workstations by use of tools and fixtures and following a plan entailing human motions with and without load. When designing such assembly workstations and pertinent assembly procedures it is necessary to assess their suitability at best before actually building and implementing them. In this work immersive Virtual Reality is promoted as a suitable assessment platform. Unity 3D was used for developing a virtual scene and the corresponding scenario for assembling an aircraft wing, riveting being the main assembly operation. Kinect 2 was used as a tracking device and the Oculus DK2 as Head Mounted Display ensuring user immersion. Thus, it became possible to track the movements of a real human worker performing riveting tasks by holding a real tool, whilst all the rest, i.e. wing, fixtures and factory environment were virtual. So far, no haptic feedback was materialised. The human’s motions were recorded and preliminary assessment was demonstrated according to standard ergonomic protocols, i.e. RULA (Rapid Upper Limb Assessment), REBA (Rapid Entire Body Assessment). In addition, a questionnaire regarding subjective assessment of the assembly tasks and risk calculation based on Hand-Arm Vibration Calculator (HAV) were employed as a pilot on a ten-person sample. Initial results indicate the potential of the virtual environment constructed in assessing both assembly workstation design and assembly plan / procedure design in the case of large mechanical parts.
102. The comparison study of different operator support tools for assembly task in the era of global production
Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
As part of a global production strategy, many manufacturing companies locate their assembly plants in different countries around the world. While outsourcing final assembly closer to key markets has competitive benefits, these companies face new challenges with communication and dissemination of information. Concerning shop-floor operators specifically, these challenges affect the initial training and continuing improvement work instructions in particular. Emerging information and communication technology (ICT) have created new opportunities for supporting operators cognitively. In this paper, an immersive virtual reality (IVR) training environment for LEGO gearbox assembly was developed and tested. IVR technologies offer new opportunities where operators can access training and work instructions in an immersive environment, which could potentially improve and influence the operator performance and emotion. Both objective performance and subjective emotion were measured and the impacts were analyzed. The results were compared with four different operator support approaches and it was seen that IVR technology has the potential of improving operator and that further studies on integration, information, communication design and development of measurement methods are needed before the industry can benefit from the full potential of IVR technology.
218. A multipath methodology to link ergonomics, safety and efficiency in factories
Departmen of Industrial Engineering and Mathematical Science, Polytechnic Univesity of Marche, Ancona, Italy
Risk Management has become a taken-for-granted form of practice for numerous manufacturing companies and in most cases a strategic factor for their success on the global market. It concerns with health and safety at works. Literature overview proves that the control and management of risks allow companies to prevent accidents, improve the production efficiency and the employees’ psychosocial well-being. In this context, the assessment of ergonomics has been recognized to be a key factor to prevent most risk factors such as awkward postures, heat and contact stress, repetition, etc.
In the last years, numerous Virtual Prototyping-based tools have been developed to simulate human behaviors in virtual contexts and the adopted validation set-ups have proved to be effective for ergonomic purposes. However, most researches do not propose any structured methodology to investigate the strong correlation among the three elements affecting ergonomics (i.e. cognitive, physical and organizational), work efficiency and risk factors, all contributing to achieve health and safety in production especially when employees must carry out manual operations. The present work starts from the consideration that only if it is possible to link the above-mentioned aspects, the results of human behavior simulations can drive the research of solutions to manage potential risks. This correlation actually gives evidence of the impact of ergonomics on work efficiency and injuries’ reduction and as a consequence companies are more confident to adopt the proposed strategies.
The research goal is to define a multipath methodology that drives the analysts to find the proper ergonomics factors impacting on specific safety elements, how they relate to the workspace, the adopted tools, the overall production environment and to the workers’ job, how to quantitatively and qualitatively measure these factors and which VP tools and experimental set-ups could be used to conduct simulations.
A case study is used to illustrate the methodology. It is a top-level line of hood for kitchens, whose production cycle is characterized by four manual operations.