Factors contributing to high cognitive workload in “expert operators”: a case in automotive manual assembly
Other conference contribution, 2019

Assembly work in manufacturing companies is frequently associated with monotonous, repetitive tasks and heavy physical loading. Vehicle manufacturers have during the last 20 years increased their share of product variants, placing high demands on the operators’ abilities to make the right decision at the right time, using their cognitive skills. Operators must be able to memorise, improvise and perform assemblies with high quality and under time pressure. This case study aims to examine cognitive workload factors in manufacturing from the perspective of skilled operators with multifaceted work tasks, involving high levels of complexity and performance demands. Multiple cognitive workload analysis methods were utilised on a team of expert operators performing the assembly of customised equipment, mainly at the stages of final assembly when the product is almost complete. The study also reflects on what resources the operators use as a team to solve cognitively demanding tasks.

Manual assembly

Cognitive workload

Expert operators


Cecilia Berlin

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Design and Human Factors

Åsa Camilla Söderström

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Design and Human Factors

Nordic Ergonomics and Human Factors Society Conference
Helsingør, Denmark,

A Model for predictive assessment of cognitive workload - PreKo

AFA Insurance (dnr 170018), 2018-02-01 -- 2021-01-01.

AFA Insurance (dnr 170018), 2018-02-01 -- 2021-10-01.

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Other Mechanical Engineering

Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance


Health Engineering



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