Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Time recording up one's sleeve

02.01.2012
Optimized operations are essential to globally competitive companies. Until now, inspectors have timed procedures, usually manually, in order to organize manual assembly operations efficiently – a method prone to error. A new system records times automatically and cuts costs for companies.

Handling tools, assembling , inserting, joining and bolting parts, painting components, operating equipment – innumerable procedures must be executed before a product can be packaged and shipped. How much time do employees need for individual procedures? How long does manual assembly take?

Industrial manufacturers have to analyze and optimize their employees’ operations continually in order to remain competitive. They must record the times of operations if they wish to analyze the individual procedures. This enables them to identify long handling distances, impractically located components, overly frequent tool changes or irregular and superfluous movements, which waste time and make production processes inefficient.

Until now, every individual movement has usually been timed by someone with a stopwatch or with digital time boards manned by employees. This approach is not really objective, however. It is replete with errors and disadvantageous for everyone involved: The stress factor for employees is extremely high and they might not execute their jobs at their usual speed. For companies, this requires quite a lot of work from staff and thus incurs high costs. There is therefore great need for more precise, automated and cost effective solutions. Contracted by the engineering firm DR. GRUENDLER® in Magdeburg, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF have developed such a system.

Three matchbox-sized sensors integrated in a sleeve record hand and arm movements precisely and measure the start and end of individual actions, e.g. reaching, grasping, setting up, joining, checking or releasing. The interlinked sensor modules are positioned on the upper and lower arm and the hand. Employees merely have to put on the two sleeves. They are snug like a second skin yet comfortable and do not impede the wearer. “The present stopwatch method only allows a process organizer to time five individuals simultaneously, depending on the situation. Our solution makes it possible to record time simultaneously, even at several workplaces, without requiring additional labor. The system’s greater precision and objectivity is crucial,” says Martin Woitag, research manager at the Fraunhofer IFF. Woitag and his team relied on inertial sensors for their solution. They measure the acceleration and angular velocities of arms and hands in the X, Y and Z axes. Unlike other motion tracking systems, such as GPS, the inertial measurement system functions without any other infrastructure. The inertial sensors independently detect objects’ positions in space. “What is more, our solution doesn’t require complex calibration. A tool that teaches in the measuring points directly at the assembly workplace one time is all that is needed,” according to Woitag. A PC application completes the system. The software calculates and reconstructs the motion sequences based on the sensor data. It breaks processes down into motion segments and ascertains the related times.

At present, the sleeves can be used for assembly jobs at sitting workplaces in logistics and manufacturing. In the next stage, the researchers in Magdeburg intend to configure the system to also analyze assembly operations during which workers stand or move around. They additionally plan to use the sensors to detect posture and thus analyze workplace ergonomics.

Martin Woitag | Fraunhofer Research News
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2012/january/time-recording.html

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Smart Manual Workstations Deliver More Flexible Production
04.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>