Global Operations on the go

Ep: 8 Fit a Day’s Work in 30 Minutes with Ergonomic Workplace Designer

Listen to our experts and learn more about Ergonomic Workplace Design application. They discuss how you can fit a day's work in just 30 minutes!

Global operations on the go podcast

Make key decisions in order to design safe and efficient workplaces

This application represents a breakthrough for process engineers to design safe and efficient workplace for their workers in 3D.  Empower Manufacturing Engineers to make key decisions in order to design safe and efficient workplaces:

  • One-click probable manikin posturing with the Smart Posturing engine technology
  • Create better visibility for opportunities to improve safety, productivity and efficiency
  • Incorporate ergonomic assessments as part of any project and identify and mitigate potential injury risks
  • Integrate ergonomics with overall planning with Ergo4all

Learn more and continue the conversation in our DELMIA Ergonomics Community.

DELMIA Global Operations on the Go

Meet our speaker


Julie Charland

DELMIA Ergonomic Roles Portfolio Director

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00:11 Therese Snow 


Hi, and welcome to our DELMIA podcast, Global Operations on the Go. I'm your host Therese Snow. Today I'm here with Julie Charland, DELMIA Ergonomics Portfolio Director, and James Brown, Digital Manufacturing Engineer at Prodtex. We will be discussing DELMIA’s new solution Ergonomic Workplace Designer, a breakthrough role in the designing of manufacturing workspaces. Julie, you've been in the ergonomics industry for many years. Can you please tell us a bit about your background?


00:40 Julie Charland 


Sure. My background is in biomechanics and ergonomics. I'm based in Montreal, Canada, and I've been leading the virtual ergonomic domain forever at Dassault Systèmes DELMIA.


00:54 Therese Snow 


Fabulous. We're so glad to have you. James, would you mind telling our listeners a bit about yourself as well, your background?


01:01 James Brown 


Yeah, sure thing. Yeah. So, I work in the manufacturing sector. So, I've worked with DELMIA for three, three to four years-ish. Yeah, I'm interested in exploring the latest and greatest bits of software, and I was hooked up with this great new bit of ergonomic software.


01:20 Therese Snow 


Excellent. Sounds good to me. Thank you both for joining us today. So Julie, what has kept you busy lately?


DELMIA’s New Product: Ergonomic Workplace Designer Explained


01:29 Julie Charland 


Glad you asked. Well, let's say fueling the motivation to come to work every single morning for a few years now is to, well let’s use this expression, give birth to a new product that we hope will help manufacturing engineers, process planners to build a safe and efficient workplace in 3D. That's really what kept us busy, me and the whole team around virtual ergonomics in Montreal. And the cool thing is that James here has generously accepted just yesterday, this brand new product. So maybe I'd like to just turn this to you, James and say what's, understanding that our listeners never saw Ergonomic Workplace Design, and they might not be used to working in virtual ergonomics in 3D, what is your impression on your test that you did yesterday, generically speaking?


02:34 James Brown 


Yes, yeah, sure. So, overall, I'd say really, really impressive. So, I've gone from other software to 3DEXPERIENCE Ergonomics at Work, and I found that huge leap forwards. And then again, going from that software to Ergonomic Workplace Designer yesterday, testing that out, it was, to me, it seemed like another massive leap forward in ergonomic technology. So, the biggest thing I found with it was just the ease of use. So, even as someone who's not an ergonomic expert, I was able to really quickly analyze the manufacturing scenario, understand what's happening, understand what the issues are, and resolve the issues pretty, pretty quickly. Yeah, it was, that's the big thing, I think, which is different with it, and important. Yeah.


03:16 Julie Charland 


Hey, thanks. Hey, and James, just for understanding here, do you have any background in ergonomics, like courses or anything that what you would have done in ergonomics before?


Getting Results with Optimal Ergo Positions


03:28 James Brown 


Yes. Only for Dassault Systèmes courses for the previous Ergonomics at Work package. So, I would never say I'm an ergonomics specialist such as yourself. But yeah, so, I wouldn't say I know the ins and outs of every single joint in optimal positions. But that's kind of the point of the software, which I think is really great. So for me, I focus on normally, on manufacturing solutions. So, it could be equipment robotics process, things like that. And yeah, even without being an expert, I was able to get interesting results out like if there was a crick in the neck, or if a screwdriver was too high up. Can it be lowered to be in a more optimal position? Yeah, it was a pretty powerful tool considering that I'm probably more experienced than the everyday person, but by no means an expert.


04:32 Therese Snow 


So Julie, what did your team do so that someone like James, without the ergonomics knowledge, to actually be able to validate if a workspace is safe?


04:42 Julie Charland 


Ah, good question, Therese. The answer to this is we, listening to the people using digital human modelling software, using virtual ergonomic solution for a while, there were two elements preventing people from being able to actually use a virtual ergonomic product, for people like James with no ergonomic domain, it takes a little while with today's product to posture the mannequin, because as you know, or maybe as you don't know, I'm just saying, ergonomics is the essence of understanding the interaction between the worker and its environment. So, in order to be able to analyze ergonomics, it’s for sure that the user wants to position the mannequin, posture the mannequin, just like a real worker would be doing the task. Today's ergonomic software takes a little while to position the mannequin. And James, please go ahead and comment about this if you agree or not, that's what you're here today. Or maybe other words to explain.


05:47 James Brown 


Yeah, it's certainly a lot quicker than previous software I've used. But it's still the current software in the market, it does still take some time. So, I actually said to my team, after testing it, they were asking me like, how did it go? What was the test like? And to sum it up, I said to them, I was able to do probably a day's work in 30 minutes. So that's…


06:09 Therese Snow 


Wow, no kidding. So may I just ask, James, so you're saying a day's work in 30 minutes. So, a day's work with say, maybe another–


Maneuvering the Manikin


06:19 James Brown 


Yeah. Just positioning the mannequin, you need to dock that the hand, you need to press the hand, press the tool. Check that's right, okay. If it's not right, I need to move the tool now and repeat that step again. But with this tool, it was like, it was just click, click, click. The click count was reduced, basically. I think a lot of the thinking behind it was just synchronizing. It's done in that engine behind it, which was good. It was streamlined, basically, really streamlined.


06:47 Julie Charland 


Yeah. So, to go to go back to what I was saying, this we catch it from the field, Therese. It was, we could feel that the people were spending a lot of time positioning the mannequin. But you know what, people like James, they don't want to spend time positioning the mannequin, that is not what they want to do – what they want to do is analyze the workplace. So what we did, we set up a collaboration with the Montreal engineering university to develop a technology that's called the Smart Posturing Engine. And what the Smart Posturing Engine does, it produces, creates a mannequin posture automatically in one click. And I heard you say, James, yesterday, something is happening, like the magic is happening behind. And the word that I could put beside the magic is happening behind is this technology that's called Smart Posturing Engine. That's the technology that position the mannequin in there.


07:46 James Brown 


Yeah. And I had a few, I was raising a few questions, wasn’t I? During the test, I think. If you remember I was, I was saying like, is the standing position for the mannequin, have you guys preset that? Or did you define that before I joined the test, and I was pretty surprised to hear that none of that was preset, it was just through this calculation. And so it was really impressive.


How Algorithms Calculations Came Together


08:07 Julie Charland 


Calculated through the algorithm. So, this is the first, so when you asked me, Therese, what did you do to help people like James, that's the first thing we did. We thought about this new technology that would create a posture automatically. We teamed up with an engineering school in Montreal, and we developed this new technology that's called a Smart Posturing Engine. That's the first thing we did. And in the meantime, there's another thing we did also to get to where we were to, where we are today, is to find a way to tackle another problem, I would say, not just the fact that it takes a while to position the mannequin. But another consideration also that I could hear often on the field is, well, I'm not an ergonomist. I'm supposed to build workplaces, and that's done very early in the design process. But I'm not an ergonomist, I don't have an ergonomic background. And in your software, I need to know what ergonomic analysis to take, when to take it. And then once I have the result, I need to interpret and I’m not an ergonomist.

So, that's the second thing we did, Therese. Again, we teamed up with another engineering school in Montreal, and we developed another technology that's called Ergo for All. And what it does, and please understand here it does not replace an ergonomist, not at all, the thing that it does is that it helps people like James in the software while doing their job with no ergonomic background to understand if the mannequin posture, created automatically by the Smart Posturing Eigne, has a risk to develop musculoskeletal disorder or not. And if that risk is high, mid or low. So, two technologies – Smart Posturing Engine for automatic mannequin positioning and Ergo for All for risk measurement of developing musculoskeletal disorder. James, is this what you saw yesterday? Or maybe you have other words to explain it? Because you know, developing a software and thinking what the user is going to do, and actually what the user is actually doing and feeling and perceiving might be totally different.


10:20 James Brown 


Yeah, no, no, I think I agree with pretty much everything you said there. The only thing I'd add to it is, so for me, I often in my job, go into loads and loads of different companies. And we talk about the software and we talk about ways they can improve their manufacturing. And I think I can really echo that problem that you said you had with. It’s often engineers working on equipment, and they're like, we have no idea how to do this bit of ergonomics. So, it gets thrown over the fence to an ergonomist. And it gets pushed away down the line before they get that input. So, I think the real good thing with this as well, like you say, it's not replacing an ergonomist, it's just going to inform those decision-makers earlier in the process, which I think that's going to be really key for a lot of companies.


11:21 Therese Snow 


I was interested, you were explaining a bit, James, about key decision-makers. Can you explain a little bit about that, and how this process can shape that?


Explaining Ergonomics to the Non-expert


11:31 James Brown 


Yeah, sure. If you have a design engineer, or a process engineer, or anything like that, someone who's actually working on an assembly line or a manufacturing scenario, like you said that they're probably not going to be an ergonomic expert or anything like that. But while they're developing that process, or developing that equipment, they want to have ergonomic input. So, very often we'll have customers say to us, what happens if, how does that affect ergonomics moving this beam over there? Or what if we put the robot here, is that going to affect the ergonomics of the cell or anything like that? And you can do that with Ergonomics at Work. But it's, it's more time, it's a lot of effort. And I think this software, if you say to someone, it's you know, it's going to take me an hour to evaluate the ergonomics and give you recommendations with this, that's really going to open decision-makers’ possibilities. So, I think today, what will happen is a decision-maker will go, right, we need to evaluate this ergonomics. Let's push this on towards a professional who can give me their opinion. And that's maybe going to take a week or two weeks with admin, things like that. With this, it means they can get that decision, that input within, yeah, straightaway. Let's see.


12:45 Therese Snow 


Sure. Now, what if the engineer can't solve the problem with what is proposed in the software?


When Engineers Can’t (Initially) Solve the Problem


12:50 Julie Charland 


That's a good question, Therese, because the understanding, like I said a little bit earlier, is that we're not replacing an ergonomists. Ergonomists exist, they have their role, they have the background, they go to school for that. They need to keep doing what they do in terms of prevention, and being there. So, what we tried to do is to get as much input, ergonomic guidance to people like James to do their job. So, they try and evaluate and modify and, you know, modify the layout, the environment as much as they can to try to come up with something that is as close as possible to no, to low risk of developing musculoskeletal disorder. What happens if the user, directly using an Ergonomic Workplace Design, cannot solve the problem by himself, herself, or it involves a change that will cost a lot to actually lower the risk or it's a complex problem? What we thought about is to include right there in the software, simply a button where you click on it, it puts the user directly in contact with an ergonomist. But not any ergonomist, an ergonomist that knows the game of working in 3D. And that is important because it's an ergonomist and that's their essence, their role – they’re human people, they talk to people, they feel people, they will have the tendency to take a little while to solve the problem. And it's alright, there's no negative way of telling here.

People like James, they need their problem to be solved now. So, they want to be able to play around with the environment as much as they can. When they can't, and they click on this button, then they have someone that knows the game of working in 3D, which is trying to solve by doing different changes in the environment. The way I can maybe symbolize this, Therese, is think about the following. Let's say you want to do your income tax and you're not an accountant. So, you have a software that helps you do your income tax. If your income tax is for your own family and, you know, your work and that's about it, you will be able to do everything you want in there and everything will be clean. If you have three companies and all things in different countries, and you've been married and divorced twice, and you have 10 children, that's another way of doing things. And maybe at that point in time you want to contact an accountant. I don't know if it makes sense, my comparison.


15:22 Therese Snow 


Yeah, no, it certainly does, you know, especially when you were diving into the specifics. So, that was great. Is there anything regarding DELMIA’s Ergonomic Workplace Design that we have not discussed, that you think that people would like to hear before we close?


15:39 James Brown 


One really interesting thing I did find with the software was, I kind of got to the end of, near the end of the test, where I created a few human tasks and evaluated the ergonomics of it, I think it was four or five different operations. So, I skipped past a couple of the high risks saying, okay, I don't know exactly how to solve this. But if I was doing this for real, I would continue and come back to all the high-risk ones at the end. And I got to the end, and I was thinking it'd be really great if there's a nice summary of this now to save me, save time for when I take this to, you know, a colleague or an ergonomist or anything. Yeah, it's really great. There's just a button for it, which I found was really nice. So, on the right-hand side, it just came up and said, yeah, you've got, these are your, the levels of risks, these are the level of operations. And yeah, I just thought I’d add that because I found that, as an engineer, a really nice summary to the process of operations I’ve just done, as an ergonomist, so…


16:34 Julie Charland 


I think every day I thank to be able to have this vision and act on it and try to develop a solution that will actually, and I hope, and we hope, to change the way people do virtual ergonomics today. And that's a blessing to be in this position today.


16:51 Therese Snow 


Oh, absolutely. Julie and James, thank you so much today for your time. Conversation was very interesting. I think our listeners will really appreciate the knowledge. So, I thank you both for your time.


17:05 Multiple Speakers 


Thank you. Thank you very much.


17:06 Therese Snow 


Thank you, and I am your host Therese Snow and thank you for listening to Global Operations on the Go.

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