Home New Blog Series, “How’d They Fix That?” – Starts Today! Ergonomics Done Right®

Written by: humantech on July 21st, 2014

The job improvements we’ve received from past Find It – Fix It Challengeentries are so impressive that we decided to share some with you.

Each Monday a “before” picture along with a brief description of the problem, will be posted. In the “Leave a Reply” text box below, tell us how you think they fixed that job. Be sure to come back Friday to see the solution that was implemented!

Job Task:Stone Changing Torque Tool Before
Screwing bolts to a metal plate

Problem Description:
At a bearing plant in Ohio, bolts that hold the grinding wheel stone to the face plate were being screwed on too tight. To remove the bolts, workers had to apply high force and use the following awkward postures: Butts Up, Horizontal Distance, Twist and Shout, Wash Rag and Contact.

Here’s how they fixed that!

Here’s a link to  week #2 in the series.

13 responses to “New Blog Series, “How’d They Fix That?” – Starts Today!”

  1. Janice says:

    Perhaps first, evaluate the process where the bolts were being screwed on too tightly. Is there a way to prevent over tightening? Then the too tight bolts would not be a problem in the first place. If that process is not fixable, put the wheel on an adjustable height tilted table and hang the tool from overhead, such that use is inline and weight of tool is held up by what is used to hang it.

  2. George Orebaugh says:

    In addition, gloves do not appear to have a friction survace on the palm/fingers leading to the worker using higher levels of force.
    1) Have the face plate grinding wheel assembly on a fixture that will tilt up to near vertical, or at the very least, rotate to come closer to the worker. Height of work should fall within the shoulder to waist range. If the work is tilted there will need to be something to hold the parts in proper alignment. Depending on weight of grinding stone, a lift assist device may be indicated.
    2) Use a powered tool that will limit torque to only that required to apply the bolts
    3) Use a powered tool to remove bolts.
    4) Above noted tools may be mounted on torque limiting arms to prevent transmission of force/vibration to worker
    5) Vibration gloves if indicated by tool. Gloves with good fit and friction.

  3. mjormacon says:

    I think they they should start using a air tool with controlled torque.

  4. Mike Hill says:

    My first reaction as a risk manager is to eliminate the exposure by fixing the original problem of screws being screwed on too tight. I would require in the job procedures that the screws be applied with a torque wrench to limit over-tightening. That said, I’m sure from experience that over tightening is not the only reason screws get stuck and require this risky process of loosing stuck bolts. Crossed-up threads or rust could be additional reasons. In the event that a screw was still stuck and required this action of loosening them, a quick fix would be an extension bar (with foam padding) that would allow, through leverage, the person to stand at a comfortable distance with elbows at their sides and walk the bar around to easily loosen the screw.

  5. Denise Devall says:

    Using a torque wrench to control the tightness will help with the original issue of bolts being too tight. This job would be easier if the wheel was mechanically tilted up at an angle closer to the employee. Then use a pneumatic tool to remove the bolts. Most of the awkward postures and force should be eliminated by changing angles and using appropriate tools.

  6. This operation could be completely removed if a torque wrench was used to install the bolts to a predetermined torque. The same torque wrench could be used to remove the bolts and if the torque was mounted vertically with a push-to-start option. Finally I would add a torque arm to the set to prevent the tool from snapping the wrist on reaching the set torque.

  7. Jami Hatfield says:

    I would raise the work table up, then I would implement a hanging power tool, which would reach to the power zone area. The tool would have the functionality to torque. Also, I would require vibration gloves for this station.

  8. MARK HEANER says:

    Try an air powered torque wrench while using vibration gloves. Decide on a torque limit and set the wrench to than limit. Taking them off will be easier and you can still use the same wrench. No effort involved except the twist of the wrench. Takes less time also !

  9. Great improvement ideas, everyone! You are all digging for the root cause, which you know is what we really want to look for when we’re identifying improvement ideas. I am always amazed at how much overlap there is between ergonomics and quality.

    You’re also keying in on “Tool to Target” – reorienting the tool or the target to enable employees to maintain neutral postures.

    Keep the great ideas coming!

  10. Jason says:

    Utilize an in-line, counterbalanced torque wrench and set to the appropriate lb-ft per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

  11. If this process is an initial step in a bigger process, question why the bolts have to be placed on plate…only to be removed again? Process consolidation… Without knowing the process, tough one. Vertical plate , safe zone of reach and limiting torque is one step .

  12. Juan says:

    Make a fixture, to pass the torque of the Pneumatic Ratchet to the grinding wheel using the holes of the screws in the grinding wheel to support the tool. Bolt on the fixture.

    Or make a fixture, to pass the torque of the Pneumatic Ratchet to the grinding wheel using the border of the grinding wheel to support the tool.

  13. humantech says:

    Thank you for all of the great comments and suggestions. Here’s a photo and description of the actual fix that was implemented. Join us next week for another installment.
    http://www.humantech.com/blog/howd-they-fix-that/

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