A model for calculation of the costs of poor assembly ergonomics
Journal article, 2014
In product development there are many design requirements to meet and often tough project budgets to keep. Requirements that are considered not profitable will often be neglected, which affects assembly ergonomics. The objective of this study was to develop a calculation model for application in practice that enables calculation of costs of poor assembly quality related to assembly ergonomic conditions. The model is meant to be used by engineers and stakeholders in the design or redesign of manual assembly solutions. For that purpose, manual assembly tasks of 47061 cars at high, moderate and low physical load levels were analyzed with respect to assembly-related quality errors and corresponding action costs during production and on the market. The results showed that ergonomics high risk issues had 5-8 times as many quality errors as low risk issues and the earlier these were found the less were the action costs. The action costs for errors that were discovered late in assembly were 9.2 times more costly compared to early repair of errors in the factory. The action costs for quality errors that were found and corrected on the market were further 12.2 times more expensive to correct compared to actions taken in the factory. Examples are shown of how to apply the calculation model that was developed based on the obtained quality data. Relevance to industry: Both ergonomics and quality issues can be proactively solved through simultaneous risk assessment in early product development and hereby late reactive action costs can be greatly reduced.