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Car disassembly and ergonomics in Sweden: current situation and future perspectives in light of new environmental legislation

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Due to external environmental concern a new European Union (EU) legislation is now increasing the demands on car recycling. The aim of this paper is to present the ergonomics of today's disassembly production systems as well as initiatives and expectations about future systems. This is to provide a basis for development of production systems according to both productivity and workers' musculoskeletal health. Explorative methodologies were utilized. The following results were found: (1) car disassembly today includes two main tasks: dismantling of components to meet environmental demands and dismantling of valuable parts. The latter allows for good business economics for all the investigated companies; (2) performance demands are in general low and resemble a craft-type production, i.e. the work comprises a rich variety of tasks and low time pressure; (3) musculoskeletal disorders seem not to be a significant issue; (4) design for disassembly/recycling is not a significant issue in the manufacturing industry today. Accordingly, communication between dismantlers and design engineers is sporadic. However, in a long-term perspective, the key stakeholders consider such interaction important to obtain more efficient disassembly systems. Due to the EU legislation more non-commercial parts of the car must be disassembled in the future. Thus, rationalization of disassembly systems is anticipated and possible ergonomic implications are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: National Institute for Working Life West National Institute for Working Life West Box 8850 SE-402 72 Gothenburg Sweden 2: Norwegian University of Science and Technology Norway

Publication date: 2004-04-01

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