Digital ergonomics: definition
The reduction of physical stress in the manual work process
Ergonomics is becoming one of the most important factors when analyzing manual work processes. In general, the use of psychological and physiological principles in the development and construction of products, processes and systems is understood here. The central aspect is the reduction of errors and the increase in performance as well as the increase in safety and comfort, with a view to the interaction between people and objects. It is very important to keep experienced employees in their processes for as long as possible. In order to guarantee this, it is essential to ban excessive loads and critical movement sequences from work processes. For example, a digital analysis can reveal critical movement sequences and, on the basis of the knowledge gained, make small changes to the workflow that make a big difference to the stressful situation of the employee.
It is a combination of different disciplines such as psychology, engineering, physiology, visual design, industrial design, user experience, etc. Basically, it is about researching the conception of equipment, devices and processes that affect the human body and match his cognitive abilities.
Digital ergonomics: the relevance
The areas of application and interfaces
In addition to the design of safe objects, ergonomics is relevant for user-friendly interfaces to machines and devices. Digital ergonomics analyzes with Motion-Mining® reveal stress risks that can cause musculoskeletal disorders or similar injuries if they occur repeatedly. If an employee is exposed to these excessive or incorrect loads over a longer period of time, permanent injuries can result. It therefore deals with the "fit" between user, device and environment or the correct "adaptation of a workplace to a person". The skills and limits of the users are taken into account.
Motion-Mining® technology supports companies in evaluating the compatibility of people and technology through digital ergonomics analyzes. For a digital ergonomics analysis, among other things, the activities performed and the requirements for the user are considered; the equipment used and the knowledge used.
Digital ergonomics: the specialization
The physical, cognitive and organizational types
Three areas can be distinguished: you physical, the cognitive and the organizational.
The focus within these large categories is very diverse. The physical concentration also includes the visual area. In the cognitive area there are specializations in the areas of user friendliness, human-computer interaction and user experience engineering.
Certain specializations, such as environmental ergonomics, may also extend beyond these specialist areas. Here we examine the interaction between humans and the environment, shaped by the climate, temperature, pressure, vibration and light. The evolving field of human factors in road safety uses human factor principles to understand the actions and skills of road users - car and truck drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, etc. - and to use this knowledge to design roads and paths in such a way that collisions in public traffic are minimized.
Digital ergonomics: the physical area
Contemplation of the human anatomy
The physical area covers aspects of human anatomy and some of the anthropometric, physiological and bio-mechanical properties associated with the activity of the body. Physical-ergonomic principles are widely used in the design of consumer and industrial products. The aim is to optimize performance and avoid work-related disruptions. Triggers for chronic musculoskeletal injuries must be identified and reduced.
Initial diagnosis of work-related conditions, such as musculoskeletal disorders, is often difficult, although this type of condition is one of the most common types of work-related injuries. Musculoskeletal disorders often result in chronic pain, loss of function and inability to work. A higher rate of employee complaints as a result of incorrect workload is triggered, for example, by repetitive and stressful activities, repeated overloading, frequent, heavy lifting or overhead lifting or unfavorable work positions. The consequences can be localized tiredness, discomfort or pain that does not subside after resting during the night.
Digital analyzes not only generate added value on the employee side. Employees in ergonomically correct work processes are less absent and cause fewer health-related costs. In addition, employee productivity can be increased and employee turnover reduced.
Digital ergonomics: Digital ergonomics
The possibilities in use for digital ergonomics
Digital ergonomics are used to map digital models and methods for planning, realizing and continuously improving products and socio-technical work systems. Personal characteristics of employees are recorded in order to ergonomically optimize work systems. For this reason, the term personal digital ergonomics is used here. Digital human models are among the most important ergonomic instruments for digital ergonomics. They depict real people virtually.
Digital ergonomics: the cognitive area
Contemplation of the human anatomy
The focus here is on mental processes such as perception, memory, logical thinking and motor reaction, as they influence the interactions between people and other elements of a system. A correlation between the time one spends sitting and their cognitive function, such as decreased mood and depression, has been shown in epidemiological studies.
Digital ergonomics: Optimization suggestions as part of a Motion Mining® ergonomics analysis
The employees already benefit from small optimization measures
Even small optimization measures can contribute to improving the stress situation of employees. A digital ergonomics analysis with Motion-Mining® is used to derive measures based on the collected data. So far, a digital ergonomics analysis can distinguish 50 movements, including critical movements such as stooping from the back, carrying, lifting, holding, overhead activities, can be viewed specifically in this regard. This creates a direct benefit on the employee side. For a digital ergonomics analysis, in addition to productivity indicators, indicators are also recorded that, similar to the key indicator method, allow conclusions to be drawn about the stress on employees. In addition to critical movements, this also includes, for example, the number of manipulations and the distances traveled. In the future, sensors for light, temperature and sound are also conceivable for digital ergonomics analysis in order to record the working conditions even more precisely.
Measures for a digital ergonomics analysis are, for example, the correct placement of the products in order picking. In this way, it is possible to protect employees by reducing the amount of bending over and overhead work. Optimal route planning so that walking distances that are too long can be reduced is a typical measure for a digital ergonomics analysis. When optimizing the walking routes, there is also an increase in the efficiency analysis. Efficiency and digital ergonomics analyzes are often carried out at the same time.