Human Factors in Consumer Products

By Neville Stanton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Applying ergonomics methods during the industrial design of consumer products

MARK EVANS

Department of Design and Technology, Loughborough University


11.1 Introduction

In attempting to achieve a competitive advantage a reduction in time to market offers substantial advantages to manufacturers. By compressing product design timescales, overall costs can be reduced and products launched ahead of those of competitors. Unfortunately, without careful management, reduced leadtimes can also result in substandard products, in terms of both manufacture and design. This is becoming all too apparent as product recall notices appear in the national press with increasing frequency. The reasons for product recall are not restricted to material and production deficiencies. The absence of ergonomic evaluation can result in design-centred product recalls.

From the experiences of the author as both an in-house and consultant industrial designer, there appears to be a lack of support for the use of ergonomic evaluation during the product development process. The reasons for this being largely due to time, cost, and a lack of awareness as to what ergonomics can contribute to the product.

This case study for the industrial design of a nylon-line garden trimmer was supported by the application of ergonomics methods. It identifies a methodology whereby ergonomics and industrial design can be integrated into programmes of new product development (NPD). Whilst the result of these activities added to the overall product development time at the start of the programme, this was offset by the use of computer aided design (CAD) and

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