Speeding innovation for industry
Assessing the difficulty of a workstation is a complex task. Today's workstation ergonomics assessments, based on the analysis of video footage or, in the best-case scenarios, motion capture technology, are not very objective or complete. FactoryLab's Ergoforce project was set up to develop a simple, robust workstation ergonomics assessment tool based on measurements of the worker's posture and effort.
Cameras like the ones used in conventional ergonomics assessment systems capture the worker's movements, providing an overall idea of how difficult the workstation is. Here, however, the researchers at CEA-List added sensors, which can be integrated into shoe insoles or gloves, for example, to measure the efforts exerted by each limb. They also developed a physics simulation engine and, to represent the human operator, a biomechanical dummy.
The motion and effort data captured by the sensors is fused and processed, allowing the simulator to generate the worker's posture and physically realistic joint efforts in real time. The information produced by the simulator can then be interpreted to produce an assessment.
The project also included measurement campaigns in conjunction with project partners Stellantis, Safran, and Naval Group. The data gathered at the partners' facilities was sent to Kprocess, another Ergoforce partner, where it was used to generate ergonomics assessments.
Light and Shadows is scaling up the fully operational solution, which is currently being used by Kprocess to prepare for the go-to-market phase. Safran has already implemented it, with Stellantis and Naval Group soon to follow.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.