Home Update from the Applied Ergonomics Conference in Nashville Ergonomics Done Right®

Written by: humantech on March 27th, 2012

by Deepesh Desai, CPE

Deepesh Desai, CPE of HumantechWe are attending the keynote presentation by Dr. Don Chaffin; he is speaking on the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) that the White House is rolling out. For the past 18 months, Don has been working with other key personnel to give recommendations to the White House.

Obviously, the US economy over the past few years has been quite unpredictable, and several US companies have moved their manufacturing operations abroad as a cost cutting approach. The AMP is focused towards bringing manufacturing to the US. President Obama officially announced the program last June at Carnegie Mellon University.

One of the key focuses of the program is to bridge the gap between research and production by creating new manufacturing infrastructures and institutes across the country. Each institute will support the development and deployment of several innovation activities in manufacturing including virtual and digital aspects.

Some of you might be wondering how this applies to the field of ergonomics.  The answer is in many ways. If we go back to the roots of ergonomics, it is a field that enables reducing barriers to human performance and improving efficiency as well as productivity by leveraging principles of industrial engineering, lean, and biomechanics.  One specific way the new manufacturing infrastructure may help is to provide access to several simulation and 3-D digital modeling tools for designing workstations and products in an optimal manner.

At Humantech, we have always stressed that ergonomics be driven by engineering and the most successful ergonomic programs are those that seamlessly integrate with engineering and operations.  This involves providing design guidelines and design for ergonomics and assembly principles to engineers (which, by the way, advances your program up the Ergonomics Maturity Curve™.)

Did you hear Dr. Chaffin’s talk? We are curious to hear your thoughts on his presentation and the AMP.

2 responses to “Update from the Applied Ergonomics Conference in Nashville”

  1. Bryon Horn says:

    I attended Dr. Chaffin’s keynote address and I couldn’t agree more that these institutes can be a great opportunity to help companies become more productive and provide a safer working environment by employing virtual and digital resources related to ergonomics.

    Two things come to mind related to these institutes that are particularly relevant to the practice of ergonomics. First, I think practicing ergonomists can provide a valuable service by partnering with these institutes as soon as possible. By actively engaging with these institutes, I think companies who may not have otherwise incorporated ergonomics into their engineering or operations will do so. Obviously if we reach a companies we would not have otherwise, this benefits the profession by increasing the use of ergonomics to a wider audience.

    Secondly, I think the cost to invidual companies of digital and virtual ergonomics resources can hopefully be reduced by partnering with these institutes. As Don talked about, smaller companies can hopefully utilize such resources on a pay per use basis through these institutes, instead of having to buy a system or license to be used exclusively by them.

    Hopefully the AMP’s will be supported with suffucient funding to really help manufacturers become or remain competitive by using a variety of resources, including ergonomics related tools and resources. And hopefully the profession of ergononomics can benefit and progress as a result too. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds and hopefully see opportunities created for ergonomics practicioners to get actively involved.

  2. Deepesh Desai says:

    Thank you, Bryon for your comments; I agree to them. It definately would be interesting to see how things unfold and particularly the cost of using these AMP’s.

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