How do automation and ergonomics help employee safety?

Along with customer satisfaction, the highest priority for any company should be a dedication to safe and comfortable work conditions for its staff. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to achieve the highest levels of customer satisfaction without a focus on employee work conditions.

For commercial automation and workholding, it can be particularly challenging to maintain safe and comfortable workspaces.

two engineers analyzing machine

There’s a lot that can go wrong when safety precautions aren’t taken seriously on the production floor. This is why it’s so crucial to ensure workflow procedures are monitored and adapted for the ever-changing needs of any company.

For the better part of the last century, Richmond, Indiana-based Ahaus Tool & Engineering has earned its reputation as a leader in the manufacturing industry, in part due to the loyalty and passion of its employees. As a longtime family-run business, it is no wonder that Ahaus considers team members as family themselves.

One way this loyalty and passion is developed is through the investment of time, energy, and resources into ergonomics and automation innovations for employees and customers.

“Our leveraging the practical use of automation to assist with both efficacy and safety on the floor started in the early 1980s,” explains Ahaus owner and vice president Jeff Sheridan.

“We were doing a lot of build work for a high-profile global company that was entering the phase of manufacturing a new product, which was aluminum radiators with plastic end tanks. We began exploring with this company what was then leading-edge automation solutions to aid them in their needs. Finding success there, we at Ahaus really took off with the idea of incorporating automation into our workflow process.”

“This in fact kickstarted the entire engineering side of our organization that nearly four decades later is still heavily leaning into such automation innovations bolstered by continuously updated technology and procedures,” continued Sheridan. “It’s such use of automation that so profoundly ensures both the safety of our staff and efficiency of our work with partner clients.”

 

Following a system of ergonomics—creating, maintaining, and establishing a workspace environment that fits within the comfort and safety needs of staff—leads to automation innovations on the floor.

“Ergonomics is a great aspect of automation,” affirms Ahaus engineering operations manager Mark Price.

“By following through with ergonomic systems as part of Ahaus’ automation solutions on the floor,” continued Price, “we can properly assist or outright disengage operators from having to interact with extremely heavy and/or precarious objects or equipment, which vastly diminishes both workplace errors and accidents. Observing a proper system of ergonomics will therefore just as vastly increase safety and product output for companies such as Ahaus willing to invest resources in it.”

The design and build of custom manufacturing solutions requires a great deal of skill and expertise, especially in the field of workholding and tooling.

engineer resting his hand

This is why there still needs to be that all-important human factor that comes into play for the design and operation of equipment, too.

“How do we make sure that everything is debugged and proven out before handing off to our customers?” asks Sheridan, who notes that a tried-and-true apprenticeship program is a vital part of their success.

“Young folks will typically enter our company and go through four years of a training and formal education process where they’ll learn all aspects of what we do at Ahaus, and what goes into it,” revealed Sheridan.

“Our apprentices get exposure to everything: from machining, to the assembly aspect of it, to the debugging to make sure everything is working properly. It is therefore critical for us to make sure we’re developing the next generation of people onboard that have those skills. Because these are not skills that you can just pick up in a normal education environment out there. They are skills specifically tailored to achieve the success that we and our client partners have enjoyed for more than seventy-five years at Ahaus.”

To find out how Ahaus can work with you on your custom automation needs, contact one of our sales engineers here.