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Tooling Design Ergo 101

Tools, lift assists, ergo arms, aids, whatever one wants to call them, they are prominent on manufacturing floors, maybe even more so now than ever. Tools can assist operators with completing tasks, while improving operations from an ergonomic and safety perspective. The use of tools can alleviate awkward postures and eliminate having to manually handle parts. Designing tools with the human in mind, will lead to a better and successful design process and use of the tool itself.

Tools can come in all shapes and sizes, but their main purpose is the same; to facilitate a job. This can mean improving efficiency, safety and quality, as well as reducing physical demands placed on the worker.

Various manufactures have various standards/guidelines that they use when designing, reviewing, and implementing tools. Although they can slightly differ, from an ergonomic/safety perspective, some basic factors can and should be considered. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Number of Handles/Controls/Buttons
  • Handle Height/Location
  • Posture(s) Created While Using
  • Handle Diameter/Width/Length
  • Handle Adjustability
  • Width Between Handles
  • Force Required to Use/Manipulate/Move
  • Button/Control Height/Location
  • Button/Control Diameters/Width

Many factors/decisions can go into choosing if and when to implement and use a tool. Some of these factors/decisions fall outside of the ergonomic realm but are still important. These factors/decisions include, but are not limited to:

  • Functionality
  • Cost/Vendor/Supplier
  • Size/Space
  • Interaction with Dunnage/Rack

Sandalwood has the knowledge and experience to help design, review, and implement various types of tools, from both a virtual and physical perspective. Sandalwood has relationships with various vendors/suppliers that can also assist with your decisions. For any questions, please contact our team at contactus@sandalwood.com.