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Redesign Material Handling System By Using Ergonomic Approach To Reduce Back Pain Risk


Academic year: 2019

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In the name of Allah S.W.T, The most Merciful, I am thankful to Allah for enabling me to complete this final year project and this report.

First the foremost, thousand thanks to my supervisor, Dr. Seri Rahayu Binti Kamat, lecturer of Faculty Manufacturing Engineering for giving me a full cooperation and supervision during making this final year project report. Not to be forgotten, I would like to thank my family, siblings and my friends for contributing their ideas and give me a moral support in completing this project.




Abstrak i

Abstract ii

Dedication iii

Acknowledgement iv

Table of Content v

List of Tables viii

List of Figures x

List Abbreviations, Symbols and Nomenclatures xiv


1.1 Background of study 1

1.2 Problem statement 3

1.3 Objectives 4

1.4 Scope 5


2.1 Push and Pull system 7

2.2 Grip Force 7

2.2.1 Tekscan System 9

2.3 Design 10

2.3.1 Wheels 11

2.3.2 Handle 12

2.4 Distance 17

2.5 Load 19

2.5.1 Material Arrangement 20

2.6 Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) 22




3.1 Project Planning 29

3.2 Relationship between Objectives and Methodology 31

3.3 Identifying the problem 33

3.3.1 Observation 34

3.3.2 Interview 35

3.4 Data Gathering and Data Interpreting 35

3.5 SPSS Software 36

3.6 Redesign the Existing Trolley 37

3.7 Procedure to get pressure distribution force 37 3.8 Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) 39


4.1 Questionnaire Survey Analysis 41

4.1.1 Demographic Data 42 Gender 42 Age 43 Weight 44 Height 44 Years of Working 45 Working Hours Per Week 46

4.1.2 Ergonomic Knowledge 47

4.1.3 Comfort level of body part 48 4.2 Anthropometry Data Measurement of Hands 48 4.2.1 Measurement of Maximum Force on Different Types of Trolley 51 4.2.2 Dominant and Non-Dominant Hands 54 4.2.3 Pressure Distribution Area on Different Types of Trolley 55 4.2.4 Distribution of Hand Grip Force for Big and Small Hand Size 58


vii PHN Trolley Analysis 62 Scissor Lifting Hand Pallet Truck Analysis 67 Airport Trolley Analysis 72

4.4 Quality Function Deployment 77

4.4.1 House of Quality 77

4.4.2 Screening Process 78

4.4.3 Scoring Process 80

4.5 Three-Dimensional (3D) Assembly Design 81 4.5.1 Rapid Upper Limb Assessments (RULA) for Redesign Trolley 82






2.1 Handle sizes that allow the greatest force/torque in operation 17

2.2 Initial push forces that should be acceptable for 90 percent 18

of all female workers

2.3 Initial push forces that should be acceptable for 75 percent 18

of all female workers

2.4 Sustained push forces that should be acceptable for 90 percent 18

of all female workers

2.5 Sustained push forces that should be acceptable for 75 19

percent of all female workers

2.6 Recommended maximum force that can be exerted with one hand 20

2.7 Push & pull forces that 95% of healthy male adults 20

2.8 Material categories 21

2.9 Description of RULA score and Action Level 23

3.1 Relationship between objective and methodology 31

3.2 Internal consistency table. Adapted from SPSS for Windows 37

Step by Step: A Simple Guide and Reference Fourth Edition

4.1 Hands anthropometry for both left and right hand 49



4.3 Sample of workers of maximum force by using scissor lifting hand 53

pallet truck

4.4 Sample of workers of maximum force by using airport trolley 53

4.5 Sample of workers with high pressure distribution area that used different 57

types of trolley

4.6 The distribution of hand grip force for big and small hand size during push 59

and pull task

4.7 Anthropometry of big size and small size of male and female 60

4.8 Description of RULA score and action level 61

4.9 Screening process of redesign trolley 79




2.1 Hand and wrist postures 8

2.2 The position of rest, the power grip and the precision grip 9

2.3 Tactile Grip and Pressure Measurement 9

2.4 High resolution tactile sensors 10

2.5 Forces at the caster and wheel that resist movement include friction in the 11


2.6 User-centred design: the product, the user and the task 13

2.7 A cylindrical handle showing the long axis A-A’ and the perpendicular axis 14


2.8 The mechanics of the gripping and turning action, using a cylindrical handle 16

2.9 RULA scores for body part group A and B 24

2.10 Anthropometric dimensions 28

3.1 The overview of entire process flow diagram of the research study 30

3.2 Project Methodology 32

3.3 Steps to identify problem 33

3.4 Trolley at PHN 34

3.5 Comfort level of body part 35

3.6 Procedure to get the pressure distribution force 38

3.7 The pre-instrumented glove showing the Grip attached to the vinyl glove 38



4.1 Percentage of gender 42

4.2 Percentage of total age of the workers 43

4.3 Percentage of weight of the workers 44

4.4 Percentage of height of the workers 44

4.5 Percentage of working years of the worker 45

4.6 Percentage of worker that worked more than 45 hours per week 46

4.7 Number of workers on ergonomic knowledge 47

4.8 Number of workers on the comfort level of body part 48

4.9 Anthropometer 49

4.10 Measuring Tape 49

4.11 Hand anthropometry and height of the trolley 49

4.12 Thin film force and pressure sensors on glove to map the force 51

4.13 A worker use the tekscan glove to push the hand pallet truck 52

4.14 A worker use the tekscan glove to push the scissor lifting hand pallet truck 52

4.15 A worker use the tekscan glove to push the airport trolley 54

4.16 Each box area 55

4.17 Full body anthropometry 60

4.18 Big size of male using PHN trolley on his right side 62

4.19 Big size of male using PHN trolley on his left side 63

4.20 Small size of male using PHN trolley on his right side 63

4.21 Small size of male using PHN trolley on his left side 64



4.23 Big size of female using PHN trolley on her left side 66

4.24 Small size of female using PHN trolley on her right side 66

4.25 Small size of female using PHN trolley on her left side 67

4.26 Big size of male using scissor lifting hand pallet truck on his right side 68

4.27 Big size of male using scissor lifting hand pallet truck on his left side 68

4.28 Small size of male using scissor lifting hand pallet truck on his right side 69

4.29 Small size of male using scissor lifting hand pallet truck on his left side 69

4.30 Big size of female using scissor lifting hand pallet truck on her right side 70

4.31 Big size of female using scissor lifting hand pallet truck on her left side 71

4.32 Small size of female using scissor lifting hand pallet truck on her right side 71

4.33 Small size of female using scissor lifting hand pallet truck on her left side 72

4.34 Big size of male using airport trolley on his right side 72

4.35 Big size of male using airport trolley on his left side 73

4.36 Small size of male using airport trolley on his right side 74

4.37 Small size of male using airport trolley on his left side 74

4.38 Big size of female using airport trolley on her right side 75

4.39 Big size of female using airport trolley on her left side 75

4.40 Small size of female using airport trolley on her right side 76

4.41 Small size of female using airport trolley on her left side 76

4.42 House of Quality (HOQ) 78

4.43 3D model of new redesign trolley 81



4.45 Small size of male analysis 82

4.46 Big size of female analysis 83




CATIA - Computer-Aided Three-Dimensional Interactive Application

HOQ - House of Quality

MSD - Musculoskeletal Disorder

PSM - Projek Sarjana Muda

RULA - Rapid Upper Limb Assessment

SPSS - Statistical Package for the Social Science

UTem - Univerisiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka

V5 - Version 5

WRULD - Work-Related Upper Limb Disorder

Eq. - Equation



This report is submitted to the Faculty of Manufacturing Engineering of UTeM as a partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Manufacturing Engineering (Manufacturing Management) (Hons.). The member of the supervisory is as follow:




I hereby, declared this report entitled “Redesign the Material System by Using Ergonomic Approach to Reduce Back Pain Risk” is the result of my own research except as cited in the references.

Signature :






Chapter 1 explains the project problem statements, objectives and scopes of reports. In general, it promoted the idea of the final project conducted and provides an initial overview of the entire contents of the project under tittle “Redesign the material handling system by using ergonomic approaches to reduce back pain risk”.

1.1Background of Study



There are two type of ergonomic improvements which is engineering improvements and administrative improvements. Engineering improvements are improvement options that can be made by reorganizing, changing, redesigning, providing or replacing tools, equipment, workstations, packaging, parts, processes, products, or materials while administrative improvements are work practice or organization work improvement by observing the workers performance. For this project study, existing trolley at the Receiving Area is redesigned considering the load conditions and anthropometry of the workers. In general, the redesign activities will improves the standard and ability of the product design process (Li et al., 2006).

Generally, material handling is defined as simply handling of materials. Nevertheless, it is defined more comprehensively as using the correct method to provide the right amount of material, at the right place, sequence, time, position or condition, as well as cost (White and Apple, 1985). There are four types of material handling systems Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGV), conveyor system, robotic delivery system and push and pull system. This project study will be focusing on push and pull system. According to the researcher, people can usually exert higher push forces than pull forces. In some circumstances where pulling might be the only feasible means of movement, the situations should be avoided if possible. Even the highest force only take place at the start which is before movement begin. For example, when a worker push the trolley, the force is generate and transmit through a contact point with the equipment. To generate and apply force to the equipment, a worker must have sufficient friction on their feet, able to generate enough strength and apply their force to the equipment.



happened due to injury or diseases such as a slipped disc, sciatica, whiplash, frozen shoulder or ankylosing spondylitis. RULA meet their role as a method of screening a large some operator quickly, but the scoring system developed also an indicator of the level of loading experienced by individual body parts.

1.2Problem Statement

The existing trolley design with current factory, PHN seems not suitable and giving many problems to the workers especially back pain risk. The main problem highlighted in this study is focused on material handling system during push and pull activity. The evidence have been collected from the interview, questionnaire and support with RULA analysis that will further describe in Chapter 3. In order to increase the workers productivity, the company should consider the aspect of ergonomic of the workers. When work with human, some consideration need to be taken such as rest allowance, safe environmental and material handling system for healthy issue as it may affect the worker productivity. Bad design of trolley, heavy load and repeatable push and pull activity will give bad effect to the back body if no immediate action are taken.


4 1.3Objectives

Basically, the main purpose of this project is to redesign the material handling system to reduce back pain risk that can gives comfort and happiness to workers when using the trolley. The objectives of this project are as follows:

1. To study of actual material handling system in Receiving Area

2. To evaluate hand pressure distribution force of existing product and other alternatives


5 1.4 Scope

Chart 1: Project’s scope

Robotic Delivery System Conveyor System

Push and Pull System

Grip Force Design Distance Load Body Motion



Pull Push

Assembly 7

107.5m Right


Wheels Handle

Rubber (4 PCS)

Mild Steel

Cage Assembly

8 1.65kg (96PCS) 0.92kg (96 PCS) Assembly 7 Assembly 8 146.8m Mild Steel Pull and push force Pull and push force

RULA Left & right hand

Hand Body

Pressure Distribution Force

Left Right Automatic Guided




The focuses of this project is to make an improvements of trolley in terms of grip forces, designs, loads and also body motions. Thus, to obtain an ergonomic trolley, the existing trolley at PHN will be redesign in order to reduce the back pain risk. The analysis of comparison based on suitable grip force and design of trolley that required by the workers is conducted. Not only that, the suitable posture anthropometry, designed to be proposed and also carrying load will be analyzed using RULA analysis of CATIA V5.This project will concentrates on the characteristics of material handling system specification, conceptual design and the analysis conducted towards the purpose design which is focus only on ergonomic scope.





The chapter cover study of theory and relevant information related of this study. Researching the knowledge about redesigning material handling tools and some theoretical techniques which will be adopted to redesigning an ergonomic trolley at PHN. Through this study, the process of collecting and gathering the data are gained from various sources such as books, newspapers, magazines, journals, seminar papers, theses and also through interview with relevant parties.

2.1 Push and pull system

In most general terms, we could regard a handle as any part of an object that is held by any part of the hand (G.Kay, 2012). The adequacy of a handhold can be judged by much the same criteria as, say, a suitcase handle, a control knob or the handle of a hand tool (Pheasant and M.Haslegrave, 2006). Pushing and pulling actions are generally perform most easily at between shoulder height and elbow height or a little below, depending on the circumstances. According to biomechanical studies by (Ayoub and Daniel, 1973), the optimum level is 70-80% of shoulder height, which works out a little below elbow height or about 1000mm for men and 900mm for women.

2.2 Grip force




radial deviation and ulnar deviation. Grip strength is least when the wrist is flexed. This is because when the wrist is flexed, the finger flexors which are the prime movers in the gripping action are shortened, and their capacity to generate tension is thus diminished. Standard anatomical terms that are used to describe the position and movement of the forearm, wrist and hand are illustrated in Figure 2.1. (Voorbij and Steenbekkers, 1998) found that the grip force of the dominant hand is stronger than by 6.5% than that of the non-dominant hand. If gloves are worn, the force that can be exerted is likely to be reduced due to poorer contact and increase likelihood of slipping at the handle-handle interface.

Figure 2.1: Hand and wrist postures. (From Putz-Anderson, V. (1988). Cumulative Trauma Disorders, London: Taylor & Francis, Fig.15, p.54. Reproduced with kind permission)

In a classic and widely quoted paper on the subject, (Napier, 1956) divided gripping actions (‘prehension’) into two main categories:

a) Power grips, in which the fingers and sometimes the thumb are used to clamp the object against the palm

b) Precision grips, in which the object is manipulated between the tips (pads or sides) of the fingers and thumb.

Although this classification will take a long way in understanding hand function, it is


Figure 2.1: Hand and wrist postures. (From Putz-Anderson, V. (1988). Cumulative Trauma Disorders, London:


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