Automation specialist Vanderlande Industries is extending its relationship with Dutch research institute TNO for a further two years.
The partnership, which started in 2007, led to the development of the PICK@EASE ergonomic order picking workstation, pictured.
Vanderlande says the two organisations will work on improving overall warehouse performance and operator working conditions, from goods receiving through to shipping.
The aim of this new project is to develop a methodology:
1) which makes it possible to design the optimal ergonomic workstations for the specific functions they are intended for
2) which makes it possible to guarantee the workstations’ sustainable performance (productivity per hour and number of hours working at the work station) in the customer’s specific situation.
Once the methodology has been developed, a software tool will be created. In this tool, the customer’s specific warehouse process data is entered (such as order profile, order volume, and customer-specific value added services). The tool will then show the operator’s productivity and how long this can be sustained. Based on the information gathered, workstations can be designed in such a way, that long-term health risks for operators are minimised, enabling the warehouse to deliver the optimal overall performance.
To gather the data for this project, a ‘sounding board’ will be created, in which logistics companies, Vanderlande and TNO will share information and knowledge about ergonomics and performance. Also, a pilot group will be formed, in which TNO will conduct on-site research in the customer’s own environment.