Document Detail

Worker selection of safe speed and idle condition in simulated monitoring of two industrial robots.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  1884709     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Industrial robots often operate at high speed, with unpredictable motion patterns and erratic idle times. Serious injuries and deaths have occurred due to operator misperception of these robot design and performance characteristics. The main objective of the research project was to study human perceptual aspects of hazardous robotics workstations. Two laboratory experiments were designed to investigate workers' perceptions of two industrial robots with different physical configurations and performance capabilities. Twenty-four subjects participated in the study. All subjects were chosen from local industries, and had had considerable exposure to robots and other automated equipment in their working experience. Experiment 1 investigated the maximum speed of robot arm motions that workers, who were experienced with operation of industrial robots, judged to be 'safe' for monitoring tasks. It was found that the selection of safe speed depends on the size of the robot and the speed with which the robot begins its operation. Speeds of less than 51 cm/s and 63 cm/s for large and small robots, respectively, were perceived as safe, i.e., ones that did not result in workers feeling uneasy or endangered when working in close proximity to the robot and monitoring its actions. Experiment 2 investigated the minimum value of robot idle time (inactivity) perceived by industrial workers as system malfunction, and an indication of the 'safe-to-approach' condition. It was found that idle times of 41 s and 28 s or less for the small and large robots, respectively, were perceived by workers to be a result of system malfunction. About 20% of the workers waited only 10 s or less before deciding that the robot had stopped because of system malfunction. The idle times were affected by the subjects' prior exposure to a simulated robot accident. Further interpretations of the results and suggestions for operational limitations of robot systems are discussed.
W Karwowski; M Rahimi
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Ergonomics     Volume:  34     ISSN:  0014-0139     ISO Abbreviation:  Ergonomics     Publication Date:  1991 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1991-10-10     Completed Date:  1991-10-10     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0373220     Medline TA:  Ergonomics     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  531-46     Citation Subset:  IM; S    
Center for Industrial Ergonomics, University of Louisville, KY 40292.
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MeSH Terms
Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control*
Attitude to Computers*
Equipment Design
Models, Theoretical*
Grant Support
1 R01 OH02568-01/OH/NIOSH CDC HHS

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