Gender-specific requirements for the development of new machines considering the human-machine interface.
An important aspect in the development of new products is ergonomics, which, as an interdisciplinary branch of labor science, represents the study of human work. The goals of ergonomics are to ensure that people at work are free from harm and impairment, and that they are able to learn and develop their personalities (Stary, Riesenecker-Caba, & Flecker, 1995), while taking economic aspects into account.
Ergonomics strives for these humane and economic objectives through a two-sided adaptation. On the one hand, through the design of work, technology (or technical products) and environmental conditions adapted to the performance and resilience of people. On the other hand, by adapting people to the work in the form of personnel planning, instruction as well as work training of employees according to their individual, diverse aptitudes, such as age, gender and constitution in particular (cf. REFA Verband für Arbeitsstudien und Betriebsorganisation e. V., 1984).
The consideration of the differences between the sexes (and among them) as well as the different constitution types for technical products hardly took place in the ergonomic practice up to now. The research project Ge:MMaS now brings these aspects to the fore by determining design principles for new machines that should be adapted to the needs of the people working with them - in their gender-specific diversity.
In order to develop these gender-specific design principles, this project, funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), investigates the requirements of users of laser cutting and engraving machines from Trotec Produktions u. Vertriebs GmbH. Among the large number of machines, these technical systems were selected for the surveys because there is significantly less gender segregation among these machine operators than is usual on average in the secondary sector of the economy.
In the research design of the research project, the users of the Trotec laser cutting and engraving machines are now placed in the center of the research by investigating their real demands, needs and habits when operating the machines in an everyday context. In its research design, the study makes use of the classic methods of empirical social research - such as questionnaires, expert interviews and group discussions (focus groups) - which are extended by approaches from the research methods of labor science and ergonomics - the process and function analyses - as well as a new method from product development.
The results of these investigations are to be summarized in a gender-specific requirements profile and used in guidelines for new, gender-appropriate machine developments.
FFG - Austrian Research Promotion Agency
Institute of Management Science, Ergonomics Group, TU Wien
Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Matthias Barta
Dipl.-Ing. Siegfried Sharma
Trotec Produktions u. Vertriebs GmbH
Linz Center of Mechatronics GmbH
Institute for Women's and Gender Studies, Johannes Kepler University Linz
Institut für Rechnergestützte Methoden im Maschinenbau, Johannes Kepler University Linz
Dr. Dipl.-Ing. Peter Hehenberger
Institute of Technical Mechanics, Johannes Kepler University Linz
Dipl.-Ing. Siegfried Sharma
Development and evaluation of user requirements in innovation and design processes of machinery
REFA Verband für Arbeitsstudien und Betriebsorganisation e. V. (1984). Methodenlehre des Arbeitsstudiums: Teil 1 Grundlagen (5. Auflage Ausg.). München, Deutschland: Carl Hanser Verlag.
Stary, C., Riesenecker-Caba, T., & Flecker, J. (1995). EU-konforme Bewertung von Bildschirmarbeit - Schritte zur Operationalisierung: ''Wissenschaftliche Grundlagen und Vorarbeiten. Zürich: vdf Hochschulverlag AG.