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Ergonomic design of small containers using the Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

V. Guedez*, P. Mondelo**, A. Hernandez**, L. Mosquera**. *Departamento de Tecnologa y Diseo Universidad de los Andes (ULA) Facultad de Ingeniera Avenida Tulio Febres Cordero Mrida- Venezuela +34-934011758 guedez@pe.upc.es **Departamento de Organizacin de Empresas Universidad Politcnica de Catalua (UPC) Avenida Diagonal 647, piso 10 8028 Barcelona-Spain +34-934011758 mondelo@oe.upc.es; achernandez@oe.upc.es; mosquera@oe.upc.es

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to improve the ergonomic design of containers that will be used in flexible manufacturing systems (FMS). Manny times, the flexible manufacturing system needs to produce few pieces and very different between them . In this case FMS can not work totally automatic, then it needs persons to load and unload the main machine. In this case it is necesary to improve the interface between the machine and the persons. The QFD method is very helpfull to analyse the customers desires and to generate high quality and competitive ergonomic products and processes. It is posible to link the desires with solutions along an ergonomics projet to get the desired ergonomic design. 1.Introduction The concept of Quality Function Deployment (QFD), was introduced in Japan by Yoji Akao in 1966. It was not translated into English until 1994 (Mizuno and Akao, 1994).According to Akao (1990), QFD "is a method for developing a design quality aimed at satisfying the consumer and then translating the consumer's demand into design targets and major quality assurance points to be used throughout the production phase." As a very important side benefit, Akao (1990) points out that, when appropriately applied, QFD has demonstrated the reduction of development time by one-half to one-third. QFD is a very important piece to improvement the quality and ergonomics requirements (Streckfuss 2000). A quality characteristic is measurable as an atrtibute by which one can measure whether a customer is getting the demanded quality ( Dean E. B. 2000). Quality characteristics are defined through the brainstorming of the group that are involved in the projet. 2. How work the quality function deployment (QFD) The QFD method, needs a developing matrix to show how the method works. It is very helpful when the parameter number is very high and the design and ergonomics performances are different. The matrix contains entries for users requirements and design parameters. The list of client requirements, receives the name of What`s. Not all requirements are equally importan t. User requirements have numerical values indicating the importance of a certain requirement. It uses a scale between 1 and 5 to prioritise the importance of the requirements. The following

matrix show the fourteen most important requirements, for containers that will be used in flexible manufacturing (Table 1). User Requirements What`s 1 Durable and robust grip 2 Must be a small container 3 Can be used equally well with the right and the left hand 4 Container is light to carry 5 Container can be used with gloves 6 Wheel lock mechanism is easy to use 7 Container does not cause any pinching, stubbing, cutting hazards 8 Good visibility over the container 9 Durable lock mechanism for wheels 10 Container is easy to maintain 11 Good appearance 12 Material needs to be resistant 13 Good environmental resistance 14 Must be palletizable (stack up)

4 5 4 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 2 4

The next matrix which the QFD contains is the How matrix. This is the solution, how it is possible to answer the what`s matrix. It is very frequent that each what needs an specific how, in some cases it is necessary to develop a quality function to assure that all objectives are almost covered.(Zadi 1993). The following matrix shows the hows for ergonomics design of containers (Table 2).

Performarces, solutions, ( How ) Antropom. Dimentional Biomecanics Postural analisys Lifting analisys Fiability Machine performarces

pieces weight repetitive Dimension Equipment more load ( 3 Visual Hand Container Person/ Line and tools in than min or Hand possibility material powered adjustable Machine velocity surroundings 3 kg less). Interface design selection container

The next matrix is the correlation between the whats and Hows-list. In this matrix it is necessary to prioritise with the following sign-scale: Strong positive + 9 () , positive +3 (), lightly positive 1( ), empty box 0.

The next matrix is the customers analysis field, it show the requirement impacts in the right side of diagram. These results show which are the most important requirements. In the down side of the matrix, it shows the technical analysis field with the results about the difficulties to obtain the hows . (Table 3) Table 3: Flexible and ergonomic design of small conteiner using QFD

3. Flexible design of small containers

The studied alternatives to design ergonomics containers are oriented principally to improve the quality of the work from the human point of view, but also considers to cover with success the processes of building and its production system to assure the competivity of the product. The fundamental principles that should guide the improvement of the processes were summarised by Ishiwata Junichi (2000) in the following way. 12341234Delete processes if possible Simplify them Combine them Change their sequence

Also remember the four aims of the improvements: 12341234Do the work easier and more ergonomic Improve the product or service (improve of the quality) Work in less time (reduce periods) Reduce costs

The aportations of this paper allows the elimination of processes related to feeding and unload of pieces in FMS(flexible manufacturing system). In the cases in which the number of pieces to build is very low and variated , is necessary to use a small container to carry the pieces. The obtained improvements have speciall impacts to work easier and more ergonomically, although improve of the other three items listed above. The use of a container oriented to manipulate a family of pieces determined by human capacities and limited by the geometrics of the machine. It also has advantages from a processing point of view because it can be designed with a low weight, volume and better possibility of transport. In the new filosofies of flexible production is very important that the containers are small and easy to carry, but it is better not to use them, but they are needed when the size of the lot is small and the pieces are variated. Harmon & Peterson (1994) present the advantages of the reduction of the size of the container due to the reduction of pieces in the line production and the waste of time and unnecessary movement. The use of small containers placed at the height of the machine , increase their use and reduce the fatigue of the worker.

4. Evaluation of ergonomic small containers In order to obtain values about the importance of user requirements, an interview involving voluntary subjects was conducted. The group contained 30 persons that used the containers and worked around the FMS. Twenty persons were male and ten was female; this was the group which worked togheter in four manufacturing flexible cells to produce metallic hydraulic cylinders. First the tables were filled with the anthropometric data to compare the persons dimensions with the container and machine dimensions (Gudez 1999). Then, each person was asked to use each container loaded, as on every day use, and after the subjects answer a questionnaire ( Haapalainen, Kivist- Rahnasto ,Mattila 2000). It is necessary to interview each person separately, each person was asked which was the best container tried. The subjects had to answer to a given statement, on preliminary user requirements indicating which was the best container .The answer was indicated on a 5 point scale (Table 4)

Prototype C : Inclined and Flexible Container Table 4: Container evaluation for users

Container Model A. Horizontal and rigid B. Inclined and rigid C. Inclined and flexible

Evaluation 1 3 5

The users and technicians found that the adjustable container are the best solution. This prototype C is more flexible and ergonomic than prototypes B and A.

5. Discussion The QFD for container shows that the most important target for the production workers is requirement number 2: must be a small a container. The flexibility is the most important requirement for the customer. The next requirement is durable and robust grip. This shows that safety is very important for expert workers in FMS production. Ranking third in order of importance is the requirement container is light to carry and can be used equally well with the right and the left hand. It show that the ergonomic requirements in flexible production are very important. Then comes the requirement must be palletizable ( stack up) and material need to be resistant; these are design parameter very useful to help with load manipulation, security and to prevent musculoeskeletical disorders. The next graphic shows the ranking of the remaining items.

6. Conclusions Container C is the best option for the users, as shown by this QFD featuring ergonomic requirements. The QFD is useful for container design in a flexible manufacturing systems and shows that the users want a safe small container, with wheels in order to be easily carried and with pallet possibilities. The QFD enables to know which are the most important requirements for the users and which need to be included in the final product.

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[6] Huge y Anderson .(1988). Paradigma de la Excelencia en Fabricacin. Dow Jones-Irwin. Grficas Dehon. Madrid. Espaa [7] Ishiwata J.( 2000). Productividad a travs del Anlisis de Procesos. Productivity Press. Prtland, Oregon. TGP Hoshin. Madrid. Espaa [8] Mizuno, S. and Y. Akao, ed. (1994). QFD: The Customer-Driven Approach to Quality Planning and Development, Asian Productivity Organization, Tokyo, Japan, available from Quality Resources, One Water Street, White Plains NY. [9] Gudez T, V (1999). QFD for FMS. Centro CIM-UPC. Barcelona. Spain [10] Gudez T, V (2000).QFD: Anlisis y Propuestas de Mejoras en Centros de torneado y Mecanizado. Centro CIM-UPC. Barcelona. Spain [12] Streckfuss, G. ( 2000). What ist Quality Function Deployment (QFD)?.Published in Internet, address http://www.qfd-id.de/qfdwasis.html [13] Zadi A. (1993). QFD. Ediciones Daz de Santos. Madrid. Espaa