Have Parts, Will Travel
The Ergo Chair carries the parts and tools that a GM worker needs while assembling the interior of the Chevrolet Traverse, carrying the person through the side door and down the length of the vehicle if necessary.
General Motors' Lansing Delta Assembly plant is using an ingenious tool, the "Ergo Chair," which helps autoworkers construct the interior of the Chevrolet Traverse. Customers say the SUV's third-row seat is one of their favorite features, according to GM, and the Ergo Chair was created to make it easy for workers to make that row and work comfortably in the rear of the vehicle. GM installed three in the plant and also is using them on its assembly line in Spring Hill, Tenn.
Working with a custom equipment supplier, manufacturing engineers developed the chair as an assembly technology to deliver workers, tools, and parts to the rear of the vehicle so they can install wiring harnesses, air bag connectors, and brackets. "Our goal was to get the operator in and out of the vehicle in the safest and most ergonomic fashion to allow them to do the high amount of overhead and rear work required," said Ergo Chair design team lead Dave Bentoski, a GM manufacturing systems engineer.
According to GM, the pivoting seat is powered by a robotic arm and controlled by the user's body motions, and it places the worker at the right height for each job to be performed. The chair can enter through the vehicle's side door and extend down the length of the vehicle, meaning workers no longer must crawl through the vehicle or reach through window or liftgate openings to install components.
"To build a vehicle successfully, you need a great product and a great process, but at the heart of that process are the people and the care they put into each and every vehicle," said Tony Francavilla, Lansing Regional plant manager. "Having the Ergo Chair put our employee with the parts and tools at the optimal position for each operation improves both vehicle quality and worker health and safety."