People working on a John Deere tractor

John Deere Plows to Top of Ergonomics Competition

Humantech, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based ergonomics firm, announced the winners of its third annual Find It - Fix It ChallengeTM, which recognizes and rewards simple and effective workplace solutions that result in increased productivity, improved worker morale, and fewer workplace injuries and illnesses. Organizations were encouraged to submit photos and videos of their best ergonomic improvements for judging by Humantech's board-certified professional ergonomists and staff.

This year's first place was awarded to John Deere Des Moines Works. The winning improvement focused on the company's 7760 Cotton Harvester's muffler assembly installation. Before the fix, the operation required two employees to lift the 30+ pound assembly above their heads and maintain awkward postures holding it in place while one additional operator fastened it to the machine. An internal team designed and fabricated a fixture to hold the assembly and mounted it to an electric lift to raise and lower it. The solution enables one operator to quickly and easily maneuver the muffler assembly into place and fasten it without additional assistance. According to Find It - Fix It judges, the customized lift cart has eliminated the overhead work and awkward postures while dramatically improving the productivity of the operation.

"We are proud to be recognized for developing an effective ergonomic solution that not only improves workplace safety but also improves the efficiency of the operation," says Dan Wisner, ergonomic engineer at John Deere Des Moines Works. "This fix, along with our two other improvements in the Challenges top 15 finalists, showcases our team's ingenuity and commitment to John Deere's continuous improvement process."

Honorable mentions were given to Terex Handlers for its Cable Track Installer and Delta Faucet Company for its development of a Project Punchout Fixture. The top finalists included DENSO Manufacturing Michigan of Battle Creek, Mich.; Genie Industries – Building #6 of Redmond, Wash.; Gerdau Ameristeel of Cartersville, Ga.; The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company's Akron, Ohio, and Izmit, Turkey facilities; Pfizer of Kalamazoo, Mich.; and Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Georgetown, Ky.

The 2010 Find It – Fix It Challenge is slated to kick off in early summer. For more information about the winners of the 2009 Find It – Fix It Challenge or the 2010 kickoff, visit www.humantech.com/aboutus/findfix/.

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