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TitleDigitalization of musculoskeletal risk assessment in a robotic-assisted assembly workstation
Author(s)Colim, Ana
Cardoso, João André Vieira
Arezes, P.
Braga, A. C.
Peixoto, Ana Carolina Ferreira
Peixoto, Vítor Hugo Martins
Wolbert, Felix
Carneiro, P.
Costa, Nélson Bruno Martins Marques da
Sousa, Nuno Miguel Alves
KeywordsKinematic analysis
Ergonomics and human factors
Musculoskeletal risk
Industrial manufacturing
Issue date27-Oct-2021
PublisherMultidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
CitationColim, A.; Cardoso, A.; Arezes, P.; Braga, A.C.; Peixoto, A.C.; Peixoto, V.; Wolbert, F.; Carneiro, P.; Costa, N.; Sousa, N. Digitalization of Musculoskeletal Risk Assessment in a Robotic-Assisted Assembly Workstation. Safety 2021, 7, 74.
Abstract(s)The ergonomic assessment of adopted working postures is essential for avoiding musculoskeletal risk factors in manufacturing contexts. Several observational methods based on external analyst observations are available; however, they are relatively subjective and suffer low repeatability. Over the past decade, the digitalization of this assessment has received high research interest. Robotic applications have the potential to lighten workers’ workload and improve working conditions. Therefore, this work presents a musculoskeletal risk assessment before and after robotic implementation in an assembly workstation. We also emphasize the importance of using novel and non-intrusive technologies for musculoskeletal risk assessment. A kinematic study was conducted using inertial motion units (IMU) in a convenience sample of two workers during their normal performance of assembly work cycles. The musculoskeletal risk was estimated according to a semi-automated solution, called the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) report. Based on previous musculoskeletal problems reported by the company, the assessment centered on the kinematic analysis of functional wrist movements (flexion/extension, ulnar/radial deviation, and pronation/supination). The results of the RULA report showed a reduction in musculoskeletal risk using robotic-assisted assembly. Regarding the kinematic analysis of the wrist during robotic-assisted tasks, a significant posture improvement of 20–45% was registered (considering the angular deviations relative to the neutral wrist position). The results obtained by direct measurements simultaneously reflect the workload and individual characteristics. The current study highlights the importance of an in-field instrumented assessment of musculoskeletal risk and the limitations of the system applied (e.g., unsuitable for tracking the motion of small joints, such as the fingers).
Publisher version
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:CAlg - Artigos em revistas internacionais / Papers in international journals

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