NAEM Summary: Danfoss Demonstrates Benefits of Motion-Capture Technology
The ergonomics team at Danfoss Power Solutions exceeded its ergonomics risk assessment goal by nearly 300 percent in 2019. Senior EHS Manager Jeff Mann highlighted the company’s transition from a more manual risk assessment process to VelocityEHS’ Humantech sensorless motion-capture technology during the session, “How Technology is Transforming EHS” at the 2020 NAEM EHS & Sustainability Management Forum.
Musculoskeletal disorders were the leading cause of the company’s workplace injuries. In 2017, Danfoss selected SaaS solution Humantech® Industrial Ergonomics as the method to evaluate workplace risk. A core team was established and trained on how to conduct risk assessments using Humantech proprietary tools, the Ergonomics Hit List® and the BRIEF™ Survey.
“These are great tools, but the manual data entry to complete risk assessments is time consuming and requires several days,” said Mann. “It takes two to three people an hour (or two) to observe and interview the operator at work and notate and measure all awkward postures, reach distances, and forces.” It’s not until that information is entered into the software that a score can be calculated.
When the team at Danfoss tried the new motion-capture risk assessment technology, they easily adopted it. “It enabled us to make substantial impacts quickly,” said Mann. “We completed a true baseline assessment of our entire plant in almost real time. In some cases, we were able to make changes to the production line very quickly as well. Seeing issues on video is easier than pulling up reports.”
In 2019, Mann’s original risk assessment target was 40 completed job evaluations. But when he realized what could be done, he modified that goal to having a baseline evaluation of every assembly operation and production job across the plant—a total of 323 evaluations. Today, 95 percent of the jobs have been assessed, providing the company with a clear picture of which areas require funding for ergonomic improvements.
How Motion-Capture Technology Works
Using the advanced assessment tool in Humantech Industrial Ergonomics, the assessor uploads a video of a worker performing a task into the software. The software calculates a risk score for the job within 30 minutes and displays a human image showing the risk levels for affected body segments during that job cycle in red, yellow, or green (high, moderate, or low risk). The data outputs populate into multiple dashboards for easy analysis.
“The videos told the story. They helped justify the need to automate a very high-risk job, and we were able to transfer the worker to another work area,” said Mann.