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Increasing the degree of automation in a production system: Consequences for the physical workload

Balogh, Istvan LU ; Ohlsson, Kerstina LU ; Hansson, Gert-Åke LU ; Engstrom, T and Skerfving, Staffan LU (2006) In International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 36(4). p.353-365
Abstract
In spite of the continuous development of production systems work-related musculoskeletal disorders is still a large problem. One reason might be the difficulties in quantifying the ergonomic effects of interventions. In this paper ergonomic consequences of technical and organisational changes were quantified in a plant for producing slats for parquet flooring. Muscle activity, work postures and movements were assessed for neck/shoulders and upper limb by direct technical measurements at three generations of production lines. The physical workload for 31 operators at the manual, semi-automated and automated line was derived based on all existing work tasks. The work was characterised by moderate muscular loads, the 50th percentiles being... (More)
In spite of the continuous development of production systems work-related musculoskeletal disorders is still a large problem. One reason might be the difficulties in quantifying the ergonomic effects of interventions. In this paper ergonomic consequences of technical and organisational changes were quantified in a plant for producing slats for parquet flooring. Muscle activity, work postures and movements were assessed for neck/shoulders and upper limb by direct technical measurements at three generations of production lines. The physical workload for 31 operators at the manual, semi-automated and automated line was derived based on all existing work tasks. The work was characterised by moderate muscular loads, the 50th percentiles being 1.2-3.8%MVE for the neck/shoulder muscles, high repetitiveness and constant movements of the hands and a high prevalence of neck/shoulder disorders. There were statistically significant differences considering exposure levels between the work tasks within each line as well as between the lines. The semi-automated line implied reduced muscular load for all muscles registered but more constrained work postures. The automated line, on the other hand, required higher skills, offered less constrained postures, lower loads and repetitiveness for the hands as well as frequent changes between different physical load levels. (Less)
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author
; ; ; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
work movements, musculoskeletal disorders, intervention, muscular load, work postures
in
International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
volume
36
issue
4
pages
353 - 365
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • wos:000236922500007
  • scopus:33646117735
ISSN
0169-8141
DOI
10.1016/j.ergon.2004.09.009
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
03c65a25-8cdd-4c55-8521-b890f4f48c57 (old id 411187)
date added to LUP
2016-04-01 15:47:24
date last changed
2021-09-01 02:41:31
@article{03c65a25-8cdd-4c55-8521-b890f4f48c57,
  abstract     = {In spite of the continuous development of production systems work-related musculoskeletal disorders is still a large problem. One reason might be the difficulties in quantifying the ergonomic effects of interventions. In this paper ergonomic consequences of technical and organisational changes were quantified in a plant for producing slats for parquet flooring. Muscle activity, work postures and movements were assessed for neck/shoulders and upper limb by direct technical measurements at three generations of production lines. The physical workload for 31 operators at the manual, semi-automated and automated line was derived based on all existing work tasks. The work was characterised by moderate muscular loads, the 50th percentiles being 1.2-3.8%MVE for the neck/shoulder muscles, high repetitiveness and constant movements of the hands and a high prevalence of neck/shoulder disorders. There were statistically significant differences considering exposure levels between the work tasks within each line as well as between the lines. The semi-automated line implied reduced muscular load for all muscles registered but more constrained work postures. The automated line, on the other hand, required higher skills, offered less constrained postures, lower loads and repetitiveness for the hands as well as frequent changes between different physical load levels.},
  author       = {Balogh, Istvan and Ohlsson, Kerstina and Hansson, Gert-Åke and Engstrom, T and Skerfving, Staffan},
  issn         = {0169-8141},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {353--365},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics},
  title        = {Increasing the degree of automation in a production system: Consequences for the physical workload},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ergon.2004.09.009},
  doi          = {10.1016/j.ergon.2004.09.009},
  volume       = {36},
  year         = {2006},
}