Development of an Ergonomics Navigator for Age-Related and Age-Appropriate Production
- 01.09.2013 to 31.08.2016
- Research Area:
- Workplace and Product Design | Human-Robot Interaction
In view of the demographic changes leading to a higher proportion of older employees, keeping employees in the manufacturing industries requires adequate measures, methods and tools to maintain people’s ability to work throughout their entire working lives. Essential aspects are the analysis and evaluation as well as the improvement of the individual work situation. Although numerous methods for ergonomic assessment are available, their implementation is often problematic. A lack of transparency and a lack of the necessary skills for ergonomic assessment lead to problems of acceptance and non-observance of the results by those affected.
In addition to the investigation of suitable assessment systems and the implementation of generic improvement and corrective measures proposed on the basis of the stress assessment, the project focuses on the creation of stress-optimized operational planning. In this context, the long-term stress to be expected at a specific workplace is investigated in order to enable the assignment of employees to a workplace from the point of view of work organization and ergonomics. To ensure an objective stress assessment, the ENgAge4Pro project focuses on the development of an ergonomics navigator that will enable managers and employees in production to optimize work systems with regard to their physical stress. A key focus is on an intuitive design of the human-machine interface so that it can also be used by non-experts, as well as on using standard hardware components from the entertainment industry to provide a cost-effective approach that can also be used by SMEs.
Methods and Results
To record posture, Microsoft Kinect was selected as a low-cost, optical system that does not require the use of markers. The Ovako Working Posture Analysing System (OWAS) was selected as a suitable ergonomic assessment method. For the development of a (partially) automated assessment of postures, typical stress situations were recorded and catalogued. For this purpose, comprehensive ergonomic analyses of postures according to OWAS were carried out at a total of 18 production workplaces in the assembly of semitrailers with more than 70 workers and over 40,000 observation points. Based on this, measures to improve working conditions were developed and implemented in the production of a partner company. The developed ergonomics navigator as well as a concept for ergonomic personnel scheduling have already been successfully evaluated at the partner company site.
Funding Source and Funding Code
The EngAge4Pro project (funding code: 16SV6143) was funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (Federal Ministry of Education and Research). The project management agency was the VDI/VDE-IT.