Improving factory ergonomics through a business and post-secondary partnership

A partnership between Ford Motor Company and the University Windsor is using technology that resembles a contemporary video game. The goal is to make assembly lines safer for workers and more efficient.

Through the Mitacs Accelerate project, three students work with kinesiology professor Joel Court and Ford’s technicians in assembly ergonomics. The project involves computer simulations and video game technology to map how Ford workers move while working at the automaker’s factories in Ontario.

Once initial analysis of the technology is complete by students in the university lab, workers at Ford’s Windsor and Oakville assembly plants will be outfitted with motion capture suits. As the employees work, the suit will record their movements, creating data which can then be rapidly transferred into the game-like human simulation software.

By stimulating what’s going on in the human body, students get a lesson in good ergonomic design which can lead to unlocking efficiencies for Ford. Professor Cort adds his perspective, saying, “Mitacs internships give my students a chance showcase their talents first hand, and to apply them to a client’s unique challenges. They get to see their work having an impact right away — something that, to me, is very rewarding”.

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News Date: October 6, 2016