Ergonomics (also called human factors) is an applied science that makes the user ccntral to design by improving the fit between the user and the product. There are products that have a people-machine interface during manufacture, during use in service, and if maintenance is required. Required may be height, reach, force, and operating torque that are acceptable to the user. Postures and lighting should be considered; there are products that must be a delight to use. Potential users must be consulted.

Product designs are developed to fit both the physiological and psychological needs of the user. Ergonomists examine all ranges of the human interface, from static measurements and movement ranges to users' perceptions of a product. This interface involves both software (displays, electronic controls, etc.) and hardware (knobs, grips, physical configurations, etc.) issues.

Ergonomics includes concept modeling and product design, job performance analysis, functional analysis, workspace and equipment design, computer interfaces, environment design, and so forth.

The true basis of ergonomics understands the limitations of human performance capabilities relative to product interaction. These limitations are either physical or perceptual in nature, but all address how people respond to people-made designs. Such interface analysis is crucial to establishing a safe and effective system of operation or environment for the user.

Industry studies have shown there are cost-benefit advantages in using ergonomic programs. Recognize that the cost of corrections to a poorly designed product geometrically increases throughout the development process. Therefore, human factor specialists should begin working with engineers and designers in the early stages of product development. When ergonomists are called in to fix a product that has already been sent to market and failed, costs will escalate. A manufacturer's decision to adopt an ergonomic orientation will serve to reposition its products from a commodity-based supplier to a supplier of high-value products. Integrating ergonomics into a design program ensures more comfortable, safe, and productive design solutions and a better overall product for the end-user.

0 0

Post a comment