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Ergonomics Analysis for Vehicle Assembly Using Artificial Intelligence

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At the 6th annual applied ergonomics conference held in Dallas TX in March of 2003, The Institute of Industrial engineers IIE awarded the ‘ERGO CUP’ training education to Ford motor company. We have been beneficially implement Artificial Intelligence and another intelligence technique with Ford vehicles operation since 1990. In this application it is mostly with the planning and arrangement of vehicle assembly process planning. In this process sheets are written in free form text which caused major problems because of ambiguity and lack of consistency. The use of control language has disqualify almost all ambiguity in process sheet instruction and has created as standard format for writing process sheet across the Corporation which create work assignment for the plant fruit and to estimate level time accurately. This system is also known as the Direct labour management system that is the system is based on Knowledge that occupied semantic network knowledge representation schemes DLMS using techniques from control Language Processing instructions logics and classified based reasoning to originate detailed method through assembly direction from high level processes levelling this system is also arrange us detailed estimate of the labour content that is required from this process description. This involved in the progress and maintenance of large-scale knowledge bases on ontology has made us to apply this technology to other complicated areas within manufacturing. Techniques such as machine revolution and evolutionary computation were integrated into DLMS to support knowledge base investigation and occupied DLMS to ford assembly plants then that don’t using English as their main language.

The process sheet is the beginning vehicle for giving vehicle assembly information from the agreement engineering functions to the assembly plants. It contains explicit information about work guidance and illustrates the parts and tools required for the build process. The work that is reported to build the vehicle according to the process sheet instructions is then be allocated among the usable person. Work place requires easiest means of finding the labour time that is needed for any explicit task. The DLMS system using this guidance and determining a list of detailed of operations which are useful to implement these guidance at the assembly plant level. These work guidance, known as “allocatable elements”, are associated with MODAPTS (Modular Arrangement of Predetermined Time Standards) codes which are used to determine the time required to perform these actions. MODAPTS codes are widely used as a means of measuring the body movements that are required to perform a physical action and have been accepted as a valid work measurement system.

Eventually the ergonomics engineers would hand-operated check out the process sheets for doubt ergonomic issue. Since there may be 1000 or more process sheets for every single type of vehicle that Ford manufactures, this manual type of observation was very labour intensive and time-consuming. An ergonomics engineer would spend upwards of two weeks in manually inspecting each process build instruction for a vehicle. In an effort to streamline this process we developed a System that would automate the inspection of process sheets for ergonomics deploys. This work resulted in the development of an artificial intelligence system for ergonomic analysis within GSPAS that checks for two types of potential ergonomics issues: “red” and “warning”. Process sheets that are flagged as “red” will not be sent to the assembly plants until those errors are corrected. Process sheets that are flagged with “warning” messages are released to the assembly plants; however, the ergonomic specialists have opportunity to check and approve these issues through the use of a system that was built especially for this application. The Ergonomics system was developed and application production in April of 2002. Since that time, more than 1100 process sheets with ergonomics problems were interrupted by the AI system from going into production at the assembly plants. This has already resulted in a savings of over $17,000,000 in injury cost avoidance as the high risk processes never made it to the plant floor. These calculations are based on the type of injuries prevented and the direct cost associated per injury for each type of ergonomic problem.

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