Over the last few years, industrial ergonomics has very quickly moved away from a reactive approach, in which jobs that cause injuries are modified, to a proactive approach that emphasises assessing each job for feasibility and safety as the workplace and processes are designed.
Some aspects of job design can be reduced to a simple checklist or a set of numerical criteria e.g. maximum weight to be lifted or a maximum part insertion force.
Eventually, when the potential problem includes an awkward posture or a difficult reach, a more complex analysis is necessary.
Software representations of humans, known as digital human models (DHM), are becoming widely used to perform the analyses for these complex situations.
Nova have invested in analysis software including Technomatix Jack to enable our simulation engineers to conduct ergonomic studies in parallel with the engineering design process.
One of the largest areas of application for digital human models is in vehicle design. Expensive physical mockups are being replaced with virtual prototypes that are assessed using virtual drivers and passengers.