Advanced

A case study evaluating the ergonomic and productivity impacts of partial automation strategies in the electronics industry

Neumann, Patrick LU ; Kihlberg, S; Medbo, P; Mathiassen, Svend Erik LU and Winkel, J (2002) In International Journal of Production Research 40(16). p.4059-4075
Abstract
A case study is presented that evaluates the impact of partial automation strategies on productivity and ergonomics. A company partly automated its assembly and transportation functions while moving from a parallel-batch to a serial line-based production system. Data obtained from company records and key informants were combined with detailed video analysis, biomechanical modelling data and field observations of the system. The new line system was observed to have 51% higher production volumes with 21% less per product labour input and lower work-in-process levels than the old batch-cart system. Partial automation of assembly operations was seen to reduce the total repetitive assembly work at the system level by 34%. Automation of... (More)
A case study is presented that evaluates the impact of partial automation strategies on productivity and ergonomics. A company partly automated its assembly and transportation functions while moving from a parallel-batch to a serial line-based production system. Data obtained from company records and key informants were combined with detailed video analysis, biomechanical modelling data and field observations of the system. The new line system was observed to have 51% higher production volumes with 21% less per product labour input and lower work-in-process levels than the old batch-cart system. Partial automation of assembly operations was seen to reduce the total repetitive assembly work at the system level by 34%. Automation of transportation reduced transport labour by 63%. The strategic decision to implement line-transportation was found to increase movement repetitiveness for operators at manual assembly stations, even though workstations were constructed with consideration to ergonomics. Average shoulder elevation at these stations increased 30% and average shoulder moment increased 14%. It is concluded that strategic decisions made by designers and managers early in the production system design phase have considerable impact on ergonomic conditions in the resulting system. Automation of transport and assembly both lead to increased productivity, but only elements related to the automatic line system also increased mechanical loads on operators and hence increased the risk for work-related disorders. Suggestions for integrating the consideration of ergonomics into production system design are made. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
International Journal of Production Research
volume
40
issue
16
pages
4059 - 4075
publisher
Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • wos:000180117700003
  • scopus:0037058504
ISSN
0020-7543
DOI
10.1080/00207540210148862
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2b2dec3f-9fa6-49c8-8981-3075251a9723 (old id 320689)
date added to LUP
2007-11-19 16:53:22
date last changed
2017-09-10 03:50:47
@article{2b2dec3f-9fa6-49c8-8981-3075251a9723,
  abstract     = {A case study is presented that evaluates the impact of partial automation strategies on productivity and ergonomics. A company partly automated its assembly and transportation functions while moving from a parallel-batch to a serial line-based production system. Data obtained from company records and key informants were combined with detailed video analysis, biomechanical modelling data and field observations of the system. The new line system was observed to have 51% higher production volumes with 21% less per product labour input and lower work-in-process levels than the old batch-cart system. Partial automation of assembly operations was seen to reduce the total repetitive assembly work at the system level by 34%. Automation of transportation reduced transport labour by 63%. The strategic decision to implement line-transportation was found to increase movement repetitiveness for operators at manual assembly stations, even though workstations were constructed with consideration to ergonomics. Average shoulder elevation at these stations increased 30% and average shoulder moment increased 14%. It is concluded that strategic decisions made by designers and managers early in the production system design phase have considerable impact on ergonomic conditions in the resulting system. Automation of transport and assembly both lead to increased productivity, but only elements related to the automatic line system also increased mechanical loads on operators and hence increased the risk for work-related disorders. Suggestions for integrating the consideration of ergonomics into production system design are made.},
  author       = {Neumann, Patrick and Kihlberg, S and Medbo, P and Mathiassen, Svend Erik and Winkel, J},
  issn         = {0020-7543},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {16},
  pages        = {4059--4075},
  publisher    = {Taylor & Francis},
  series       = {International Journal of Production Research},
  title        = {A case study evaluating the ergonomic and productivity impacts of partial automation strategies in the electronics industry},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00207540210148862},
  volume       = {40},
  year         = {2002},
}