Donation adds to offerings in Ergonomics Lab

Feb 7, 2013

A recent donation from Faurecia adds to offerings in the Ergonomics Lab.

Thanks to a donation totaling approximately $10,000 worth of equipment and hardware, students in Kettering University’s ergonomics class now have a replica of a Chrysler 200 steering column and instrument panel to help study, understand or even improve on the assembly process.

Dawn Thompson from SAS Automotive, Dan Vandersluis from Faurecia and Mark Richardson from IE cut the ribbon on the donated equipment.The donation was made possible by Dawn Thompson, Stan Good and Dan Vandersluis of Faurecia, a leading global automotive supplier based in Michigan. Mark Richardson, lecturer in the department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Kettering, assembled the equipment and scaled it to fit Kettering’s needs in the ergonomics lab as part of his master’s project. The equipment was unveiled in the lab at a ribbon cutting ceremony Jan. 25.

“This equipment will help take things students learn in the ergonomics class and apply them in real-world practice,” said Richardson, who will also teach this module in Dr. Terri-Caris’ IME 462 class.

Students in the class will see a video of how two different workers using the equipment on an assembly line do the job in two different ways. One of the employees show is able to meet the requirements of the job so well that the employee has time to spare. The other employee struggles with some aspects of the job and falls behind. Since neither outcome is optimal, students critique how both do the job and with the equipment in the lab will be able to develop ways to improve the process.

Dr. Terri Lynch-Caris shows off the Chrysler 200 steering column and instrument panel.“The students will get to think like an ergonomist and say, basically, ‘How do we tailor this line to make it the most productive?’” Richardson said.

The job itself allows many teaching opportunities. The parts are complex to install and four of the bolts that go into the installation must meet federal motor vehicle safety standards, so they have to be done precisely the same way every time or risk not being compliant with federal law.

“Manual assembly is challenging and requires focus and dexterity,” Richardson said. “This exposure gives students a chance to take concepts and make them more relevant with this experience. It gives our students an advantage when they get out into the workplace.”

Contact: Patrick Hayes
(810) 762-9538