Session 1: DHM in Production Planning

Digital production planning and human simulation of manual and hybrid work processes using the ema Software Suite

Authors: , , ,


For planning and designing production and work systems, a holistic approach is necessary that considers the levels of factory planning and workplace design. Currently, separate digital tools are mostly used for the design of factories and the detailed planning of work systems. That leads to workers being considered inadequately or too late in the planning process of production. The consequence can be a time-consuming and costly replanning to solve problems in existing production and work processes. Using the example of an assembly of washing machines, an iterative approach is presented for a combined digital planning at the factory and workplace levels. A holistic design of the assembly line is carried out using the ema Software Suite, consisting of ema Plant Designer (emaPD) and ema Work Designer (emaWD). In the case study, emaPD is used to optimize production elements such as operating resources, layout, and logistics by considering the material flow, throughput times, and production costs. These results are applied for detailed planning and design at the workstation level with emaWD, which uses an algorithmic approach for self-initiated motion generation based on objective task descriptions. The generated simulations are examined and optimized based on production time estimation (MTM-UAS) and ergonomic risk assessments (EAWS, NIOSH, reach and vision analysis) as well as workers’ abilities (age, anthropometry). As a result, an efficient factory with an optimized material flow could be planned while minimizing the manufacturing costs and throughput times while complying with the space specifications and ergonomics. The takeover of ergonomically unfavorable processes by robots as hybrid workstations enables, among other things, an improvement in ergonomics. The digital planning approach of combined factory (emaPD) and workplace design (emaWD) also enable early, coordinated, efficient planning of economical and ergonomic production.

Keywords: digital work planning, digital factory planning, digital ergonomics, economic work design

How to Cite: Spitzhirn, M. , Ullman, S. , Bauer, S. & Fritzsche, L. (2022) “Digital production planning and human simulation of manual and hybrid work processes using the ema Software Suite”, Proceedings of the 7th International Digital Human Modeling Symposium. 7(1). doi: