Assessment of Mental Stress on Human Operators Induced by the Assembly Support in a Robot-Assisted “Cellular Manufacturing” Assembly System
Ryu Kato and Tamio Arai
Department of Precision Engineering, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
For the improvement of productivity in “cellular manufacturing assembly systems,” we are now witnessing the emergence of the production support systems in which industrial robots are providing physical support and assistance to the manufacturing operations and also to the cognition of information/instruction to the human operators. In such systems, the human operators still act as the prime players who make the final decision in all facets of the operation, and the adverse effects of the mental stress on these players caused by inappropriate “support” provided by the system must be carefully considered. In view of the above, in this study, we tried to objectively assess the effects of the mental stress caused by such robot-assisted “cellular manufacturing” assembly systems using physiological indices related to cognition and emotion. Our results showed that higher speeds of an approaching robot’s motion and closer distances between human operator and industrial robot increase mental stress related to emotion, while augmenting text instruction with voice guidance and optical pointer increase mental stress related to cognition and emotion. These results provide important knowledge that can be used to formulate design guides and safety standards for reduced-stress production systems that involve human-industrial robot collaboration.
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