gu theotheroneCurrent assembly enterprises are under a lot of pressure, as they are faced with increasing volume demands and product variations, needs for shorter delivery times and cost reduction. This pressure is likely to increase the pressure on individual workers. In many small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), we observe that traditional assembly concepts are no longer fulfilled. These are challenged to find other concepts to meet today’s demands. In a company where emergency lighting devices are assembled in batches (large series of products are assembled step by step), we applied a participatory and integrative approach to set up a mixed flow assembly system including ergonomically designed work stations. In this paper, we describe the approach and the effects which were studied by a within-subject design. We observed an increase of 44% in productivity and a reduction in order lead time of 46%. The time that workers spent to added-value activities increased significantly from 74% to 92%, without any increase in postural and experienced loads. Instead, the workers experienced significantly less overall fatigue at the end of the day in the new situation. The results show the potential benefits of the approach for the many SMEs where products are assembled in batches and faced with the problem of meeting current production demands.

Keywords: Flow assembly; Productivity; Ergonomics

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