Maintenance Technology October 2015 - (Page 38)
lean manufacturing, eliminating waste,
and reducing risk are now part of the
culture for many companies, enabling
them to sustain and improve their
overall performance and bottom line.
Continuous improvement (CI) teams are
often tasked with "blitzing" an operation
or assembly line to improve throughput.
During this process, improvements are
quick and constant.
The challenge for a site's ergonomics
program is not just to keep up with the
fast-paced environment. It also has to
align the program's efforts with the plant's
CI teams to develop solutions to ergonomic
challenges, as both activities address waste.
Workplace ergonomics and continuousimprovement activities have similar goals,
and each requires the other to effectively
attain those goals. For a lean program to be
successful, a basic stability of the process
must be achieved.
Basic stability implies a general predictability and consistent availability in terms
of the 4Ms: manpower, machines, materials,
and methods. While CI teams do a good job
analyzing machines, material, and methods,
many don't have the tools to effectively
measure musculoskeletal disorder (MSD)
risk exposure to employees and assess if the
manpower is capable of repeatedly meeting
Takt time (the pace of production required to
meet customer demand).
Designing for the human element
optimizes process stability and operational
performance, which can be accomplished in
several simple ways:
A Certified Professional Ergonomist
(CPE), Deepesh Desai is a managing
consultant and ergonomics engineer
with Humantech Inc., Ann Arbor, MI. To
learn more, visit humantech.com.
B.S., M.S., CPE
teams do a good job
material, and methods,
but may not have the tools
to effectively measure
risk exposures and assess
if the manpower is capable
of repeatedly meeting
■ Train CI teams in ergonomics principles and how to incorporate
ergonomic design guidelines as they modify current operations during
any blitz. For example, during a blitz, the team may be tasked with determining the most efficient way to present parts. As they work through it,
they can design the parts presentation by incorporating design guidelines, such as retrieval height (between 38 and 49 in. above the standing
surface) and reach distance (within 16 in.).
■ Provide MSD risk-assessment tools to measure baseline risk and risk
levels after the blitz. Integrate metrics, such as percentage risk reduction,
as part of the lean dashboard that reports blitz results.
■ Provide or leverage an existing system to track improvement
activities and pull metrics for reporting.
■ Build an understanding of common value for the lean teams. Most
ergonomic issues, such as excessive reaching, bending, and walking, and
double handling of materials, are non-value-added activities that have a
time penalty associated with them. Time penalties, calculated using the
Methods-Time Measurement technique, show that every 6 in. of extra
reach costs 0.4 sec. (roundtrip), and each extra walking step costs 0.5
sec. By using the design guidelines, the lean team will not only be able to
improve ergonomics, but will also reduce cycle times.
Workplace ergonomics and CI activities address similar concerns and
should piggyback on each other for success. Leveraging and supporting CI
efforts will not just improve ergonomic conditions, but will mature your site's
ergonomics program to a more proactive state. MT
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maintenance Technology October 2015
For on the Floor
Crushing Limestone with Reliability
Choose Reliability or Cost Control
Get To The Root of the Cause
Select the Right Safety Logic System
Simple Purchasing Practices Incite Lubrication Failure
CMMS Upgrade Tips
Maintenance Technology October 2015