Historically, the highest risk of upper extremity muscular skeletal disorder, associated with furniture assembly, has been associated with the upholstery process. In an effort to reduce the risk associated with this group of operators, Neutral Posture Ergonomics, Inc. has developed a new process and product that reduces risks, increases efficiencies and eliminates waste. In addition to the ergonomic benefits found in the actual upholstery work, the addition of three-dimensional (3D) knitted fabric into our product line also offers our customer ergonomic benefits that far exceed the benefits associated with typical materials. This type of process is a natural win-win for both manufacturing and marketing. The study demonstrates the results of both the production floor studies and the end-user studies. The production floor studies will focus on cycle time reduction, force reductions, postural improvements, general cost savings and waste elimination. The end-user study was conducted by the National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center in Ergonomics at Texas A&M University. This study measured the difference (in terms of peak and average pressure) between this new textile and a more conventional fabric that we offer. The equipment used was the X-sensor Pressure Measuring Pad. The result was as follows: there is a 17% decrease in the amount of peak pressure on a persons buttocks and thighs when they sit in the same model chair that is covered in the new 3D knitted fabric. What this means to the end-user of a chair is they feel the full effect of our contoured foam and seat-pan and the chair sits more comfortably. As with any industrial ergonomic improvement, it is beneficial to the mission of ergonomics when both the employee producing the product and the end-consumer using the product can benefit from the enhancements. This study demonstrates the need for ergonomists to consider both aspects of their industrial improvement efforts.
- Technology & Engineering