The United States Postal Service Dynamic Ergonomic Analysis Tool (DEAT)

T.A. Kress, R.L. Kress, L. Elyea, C. Schiappacasse, and K. Rider (USA)


ergonomic, simulation, motion capture, biomechanic,Jack, AutoMod


The USPS has developed a Dynamic Ergonomic Analysis Tool (DEAT) that integrates discrete-event simulation and ergonomic analysis in order to analyze the human-machine interface. The objective of this paper is to provide an overview of DEAT and an evaluation of DEAT implementation. In addition, this paper will specifically examine the DEAT methodology: 1) as it relates to the USPS Delivery Bar Code Sorter (DBCS) machine, 2) as a general tool for future use with respect to time-based ergonomic analysis, 3) with respect to its advantages and disadvantages, and with respect to possible areas of opportunities for improvement and enhancement. The specific implementation of DEAT to the DBCS was examined in this paper both qualitatively and quantitatively with respect to reliability, repeatability, and sensitivity. Results indicate that the approach reflected in the DEAT process is philosophically correct. Using a discrete event software package to simulate a machine and its associated process; coupling this simulation with an ergonomic analysis whenever human actions are requested in the simulation; and driving the human simulation with data obtained from a motion capture system is a sound approach. The DEAT philosophy is an excellent concept. The current DEAT methodology is reliable, repeatable, and appropriately sensitive to input data and parameters. It is feasible that, ideally, DEAT can be used as an effective up-front tool for both biomechanical and mechanical design of various processes.

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