Simulation-Based Multi-Objective Optimization of Ergonomics and Productivity

Aitor Iriondo Pascual (2021). Simulation-Based Multi-Objective Optimization of Ergonomics and Productivity. Thesis Proposal Report. University of Skövde.

Simulation software is used in industry to simulate production as it allows predicting behaviours, calculate times and plan production already in early phases of the production development process. There is also software to simulate humans working in production, commonly called digital human modelling (DHM) tools. When humans are simulated, ergonomics evaluations can be carried out in order to assess whether workstation designs offer appropriate ergonomic conditions for the worker. However, simulations performed to predict production are usually done separately from human simulations performed to evaluate ergonomics. This can lead to suboptimal solutions where the factory is optimized to either improve productivity or ergonomics. In this thesis proposal a hypothesis is outlined that more optimal solutions for workstation design, layout and line balancing can be obtained in simulations by optimizing productivity and ergonomic factors at the same time instead of improving them separately. Hence, the aim is to carry out research in the development of a multi-objective optimization method of productivity and ergonomic factors, and to implement the method into a simulation tool in order to test and communicate the method. From an academic perspective, the overall objective is to contribute to knowledge and publish findings in the academic community, eventually leading to a PhD thesis. From an application perspective, the overall objective is to contribute to the development of efficient methods for how to find successful designs of productive and ergonomic workstations. The thesis proposal covers frame of reference, literature review, research questions, proposed approach, motivation, expected results, philosophical paradigm, research methodology, method, challenges and planning of future work.

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