Ergonomics - Product Design
By Richard Meakins
What is Ergonomics and why should I know about it? Well this is a question to be asked to yourself if you are a services provider or a manufacturer. Ergonomics is designing products, services or environment based on the human needs, behaviour or usage.
Following are the 5 important dimensions which better define Ergonomics:
- Ease of Use - Products are designed to ensure that the user finds no or little difficulty in using and handling it.
- Performance - Products are designed to alter their performance based on the user's need.
Though there are three broad types of Ergonomics which are accepted, the most important ones for manufacturers are - Physical and Cognitive Ergonomics.
Physical ergonomics - is concerned with a human being's physical interaction with a particular product while using (consuming), handling or actually producing it. A manufacturer should design the process as well as the workplace in such a way that the worker is comfortable working there leading to increased productivity, low safety risk, better quality as well as reduction in production cost. This dimension of Physical ergonomics will benefit the Manufacturer. But the other benefit which will be derived would be a product which is easy to use and relates to the end user. Physical Ergonomics should not focus on just one factor but on these both. The manufacturer as well as the end user will benefit if Physical Ergonomics is applied efficiently. For the manufacturer this is a win - win situation as the company benefits from the benefits derived from process optimisation as well as a good quality & easy to use product.
Cognitive Ergonomics - is concerned with the emotional & motor responses of the worker as well as the user. This includes perception, motor responses, work load, stress etc. It is always advisable to apply both, the Physical and Cognitive Ergonomics instead of any one.
If you are a manufacturer and want to optimise your product and processes, you can either hire an employee or go for independent consulting firms. It is always advisable to get the consulting firms specialising in Ergonomics to do the job. This is because of the vast experience and expertise these companies carry across industries. Ergonomics being a highly specialised discipline, requires skill sets which are developed in a company or a person over a period of time. There are a few good Australian companies which provide such services to companies in Australia as well as across the globe. One such company is Design Industry which is a leading company in this field and has experience across industries such as banking, consumers, medicine, sports and many others. They have a team of highly creative as well as scientific members which is a rare combination but an ideal one for this job!
For more details vist at www.design-industry.com.au
Richard Meakins trained to be an engineer but soon realised that engineering was not his calling in life. Giving up his job, he became a full time artist, making his childhood dream come true. Today, his grounding in engineering helps him immensely in his pursuit of designing and he likes to tell everyone about it over the internet.
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