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|ERGONOMIC PRODUCTION LINES|
V.Ryan © 2020
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|An Ergonomic Production Line, is designed around the workers and has benefits for both the worker and the employer. For instance, a poorly designed workstation can lead to injuries and inefficient working practices, which are costly to the company. A well designed ergonomic production line, results in a more motivated and productive workforce. This is why leading manufacturers, continue to incorporate ergonomics, in the design of their production lines. This approach leads to overall cost savings, increased productivity, encourages worker commitment and improves their motivation. Improved product quality, is also an outcome.|
Ergonomic workstations should include consideration of the following:
It may be necessary to adapt each work space, to suit a variety of individual operatives. This includes their working heights and how they stretch, to reach components / parts.
Ergonomic workstation design, recognises the spacial awareness of the operative and the range of vision required, for safe and efficient working. If an operative can easily see all the components he/she requires, this will reduce wasted search times, raising efficiency.
Reducing or limiting the unnecessary movement of the operative, will ensure he / she is more comfortable, promoting efficient working. Repetitive strain injuries often occur, due to uncomfortable working practices.
Good lighting is an important safety and ergonomic factor. The work area and everything in it / around it, should be visible. This will speed up the selection of components, by the operative, reducing eye strain, which could lead to tiredness and mistakes, or even accidents.
Seating, workbench and storage heights, should be adjustable, as operatives will vary in height and reach. The diagram above, shows that the seat and its backrest are adjustable. The workbench is also adjustable, through its hydraulic system.
|SPECIALIST ERGONOMIC EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS|
|The development of specialist tools and equipment, allowing easier and more time efficient use by the operator, is another aspect of the ergonomic production line.
EXAMPLE: A typical conveyor and lifting system for a van manufacturer, is seen below. Production line one delivers doors to a workstation. They are transported along the production line, at the correct height, for the operator to handle. The operator controls a remote lift, which carriers each door to his / her workstation. The door is then attached to the van. There is no need at any time, for the operator to lift the door. This is an efficient and safe ergonomic system. Back and arm injuries are eliminated, time is saved and costs reduced.
|ERGONOMIC MOTORISED SMART ARMS|
|Motorised Smart Arms, are an excellent example of a specialised ergonomically designed piece of equipment. Equipment of this type are used everyday, on an ergonomic production line. This arm allows the worker to fit a van door to the vehicle frame. The pneumatic tool can be held comfortably and without much physical effort, allowing the operator to focus entirely on his / her work. This helps avoid strain to the back, shoulder and arms. It increases accuracy and saves time.|
|WHO BENEFITS FROM ERGONOMIC PRODUCTION LINES?|
BENEFITS FOR THE WORKER
Processes that put stress and strain on the body, are designed out, of each workstation. A workstation that is designed to promote good posture, also promotes efficiency.
Workstations are more efficient, as workers have higher levels of concentration.
Safety standards raised.
Employees feel more valued, due to the efforts my the company, to ensure a better workplace environment.
Increased productivity usually leads to higher pay.
A poorly designed workstation, leads to fatigued workers, who make mistakes and accident levels rise.
BENEFITS FOR THE EMPLOYER
Litigation / legal action over repetitive strain injuries is less likely. Consequently, there is a reduction in compensation payments and health insurance.
Relations and mutual respect between the management and the production line worker, is improved.
Production levels and company profits rise.
Ergonomic productions lines are compatible with various forms of mass production (such as: Just in Time, Lean Manufacture and Computer Integrated Manufacture).
The development of ergonomic production lines is recognised as a commitment to good health and safety practices.
|The modern office has undergone a revolution in ergonomic design, since the 1980s. The advent of computers, has lead to the introduction of furniture, specifically ergonomically designed, to ensure comfort and efficiency. The example below, shows the way an office workstation should be arranged.|
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