Ergonomics

Virtual Ergonomics Lab

Virtual ErgonomicsErgonomics is the study of interactions between workers and the work environment, which includes product, machinery, workstation and climate. If the match between the work environment and the worker is poor, a worker's ability to perform a task may be compromised resulting in poor quality, reduced productivity and increased risk of injury.

The Virtual Ergonomics Lab performs ergonomic assessments in virtual reality on both new and existing models to determine the ergonomic feasibility of design and manufacturing changes before a vehicle is launched. By making ergonomic assessments at the early stages of design, ergonomic risks can identified and preventative measures can be put in place prior to production. This helps to avoid costly last minute changes of design, tooling and facilities.

Virtual Ergonomics ManikinIn order to assess an operation's ergonomic status without using a physical product, an analysis must be performed in the virtual world. CAD data, both product and factory, is imported into the simulation software and assembled to reflect the real-life proposed situation. A human manikin is inserted into this environment and is manipulated to perform the required operation. This manipulation can be performed in two ways: the manikin can either be manually manipulated on-screen by adjusting joints on the body until the desired posture is created or by the wearing of a virtual reality suit, the manikin can be driven by following the movement of a real person. The wearer receives visual feedback through a stereo vision head mounted display, which provides depth perception and aids navigation within the virtual environment. This second method has significant advantages over manual on-screen manipulation, as it enables realistic posturing and balance considerations to be taken into account, real-time feedback regarding discomfort or pain, and shorter simulation time.

Studies

The workflow within the ergonomics lab usually falls in to one of the following categories:-

(1) Point in time studies - reactive: where the ergonomics team assesses particular potential issues identified by manufacturing engineers. These tend to require in-depth studies of particular processes involving ergonomic work-rounds/solutions.

(2) Complete vehicle assembly assessments - pro-active: where the ergonomics team assesses the feasibility of all processes involved in the trim and final assembly. These assessments are used at the early design stage to highlight ergonomic problem areas. Full assessments of such problem areas can then be made.

Summary

Digital human simulation improves the ergonomics of product design and refines workplace tasks, allowing the evaluation of human performance, including reach, physical capability, vision and risk of injury in manufacturing processes and operations. Ebild Ltd has ergonomists working in our OEM client's Virtual Ergonomics Lab creating the simulations which ensure product feasibility for manufacture. This helps get products to market faster, reduces the need for expensive re-designs and reduces worker injury.

Top ^^