Title: DHM supported assessment of the effects of using an exoskeleton during work

Authors: Francisco Garcia Rivera; Dan Högberg; Maurice Lamb; Estela Perez Luque

Addresses: School of Engineering Sciences, University of Skövde, Högskolevägen, 541-28 Skövde, Sweden ' School of Engineering Sciences, University of Skövde, Högskolevägen, 541-28 Skövde, Sweden ' School of Engineering Sciences, University of Skövde, Högskolevägen, 541-28 Skövde, Sweden ' School of Engineering Sciences, University of Skövde, Högskolevägen, 541-28 Skövde, Sweden

Abstract: Recently, exoskeletons have been gaining popularity in many industries, primarily for supporting manual assembly tasks. Due to the relative novelty of exoskeleton technologies, knowledge about the consequences of using these devices at workstations is still developing. Digital human modelling (DHM) and ergonomic evaluation tools may be of particular use in this context. However, there are no standard integrations of DHM and ergonomic assessment tools for assessing exoskeletons. This paper proposes a general method for evaluating the ergonomic effects of introducing an exoskeleton in a production context using DHM simulation tools combined with a modified existing ergonomic assessment framework. More specifically, we propose adapting the Assembly Specific Force Atlas tool to evaluate exoskeletons by increasing the risk level threshold proportionally to the amount of torque that the exoskeleton reduces in the glenohumeral joint. We illustrate this adaptation in a DHM tool. We believe the proposed methodology and the corresponding workflow can be helpful for decision-makers and stakeholders when considering implementing exoskeletons in a production environment.

Keywords: digital human modelling; DHM; assessment; ergonomics; exoskeleton; Assembly Specific Force Atlas; ASFA.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFMS.2021.10048920

International Journal of Human Factors Modelling and Simulation, 2022 Vol.7 No.3/4, pp.231 - 246

Received: 07 Dec 2021
Received in revised form: 21 Feb 2022
Accepted: 19 Apr 2022

Published online: 21 Jul 2022 *

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