The project goal is to develop a modularized digital platform for supporting manufacturing staff in their work, contributing to a better work environment, competence development and continuous improvements of production.
The wearable technology to be used consists of sensors integrated in work clothes, wirelessly connected to a smartphone with apps for data collection and analysis. Inertial Measurement Units record postures, and research based algorithms produce risk assessments for musculoskeletal disorders and for the physical work environment exposures, e.g. vibrations. The digital platform will allow other sensors, e.g. for temperature or noise measurements, digital watches and other wearables to be connected.
Further, the smartphone and the platform are also used for communicating identified safety risks, quality problems, ecological waste and also to give improvement suggestions. The platform will thus host different digital tools to support manufacturing staff, through risk assessment, risk reduction, work technique training and production improvement.
The platform to be developed will therefore improve work environment and safety for the operators, decrease sickness absenteeism, and increase motivation and involvement in improving the workplaces and support continuous development of safety, quality and ecology. Also, operator competence development will be strengthened from work technique training and from working with improvement activities, supported by the platform In other words, sustainability will be improved.
The platform will be useful for Health and Safety staff in companies and Occupational Health Services. The project will develop the platform for also another user group, namely production engineers and design engineers. They will as users of the platform be supported in their job to create ergonomically good products and workplaces, to prevent risks, improve quality and ecological performance. In short, the solutions from this project will decrease costs for society, for companies and promote worker health and wellbeing.
The project consortium consists of KTH in collaboration with Karolinska Institutet (KI), RISE, Volvo Cars, AstraZeneca, SKF and Wergonic AB. In preparation for this project application, the consortium companies have prioritized musculoskeletal aspects and
using wearables for automating risk assessments on the basis of the RAMP tool.
This tool is the state-of-the-art observation based risk assessment tool. In the beginning of 2023 the RAMP tool will be completed to include also the hand, which will be included in this project.
(Task 1) First priority for the consortium companies is the development of functions to assess risks for hand and wrist posture and movements as well as angular velocity, including vibrations from hand-held equipment, where the hand sensor is used for exposure time assessment.
(Task 2) Of high priority is also risk assessment of postures of the neck, including movements and angular velocity. These applications are based on IMUs, digital watches and other wearables.
(Task 3) A further priority is the functions of communicating risk observations, quality problems and ecological waste, and providing opportunities to contribute with improvement suggestions.
For this, new functions of the platform, using the mobile telephone will be developed. The consortium companies will prioritize further functions to be developed in this project. It is the priorities of the user companies that will be the basis for the development.