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Title: Human Workload and Ergonomics during Human-Robot Collaborative Electronic Waste Disassembly
A rapid rise in the recycling and remanufacturing of end-of-use electronic waste (e-waste) has been observed due to multiple factors including our increased dependence on electronic products and the lack of resources to meet the demand. E-waste disassembly, which is the operation of extracting valuable components for recycling purposes, has received ever increasing attention as it can serve both the economy and the environment. Traditionally, e-waste disassembly is labor intensive with significant occupational hazards. To reduce labor costs and enhance working efficiency, collaborative robots (cobots) might be a viable option and the feasibility of deploying cobots in high-risk or low value-added e-waste disassembly operations is of tremendous significance to be investigated. Therefore, the major objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of working with a cobot during e-waste disassembly processes on human workload and ergonomics through a human subject experiment. Statistical results revealed that using a cobot to assist participants with the desktop disassembly task reduced the sum of the NASA-TLX scores significantly compared to disassembling by themselves (p = 0.001). With regard to ergonomics, a significant reduction was observed in participants’ mean L5/S1 flexion angle as well as mean shoulder flexion angle on both sides when working with the cobot (p < 0.001). However, participants took a significantly longer time to accomplish the disassembly task when working with the cobot (p < 0.001), indicating a trade-off of deploying cobot in the e-waste disassembly process. Results from this study could advance the knowledge of how human workers would behave and react during human-robot collaborative e-waste disassembly tasks and shed light on the design of better HRC for this specific context.  more » « less
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2022 IEEE 3rd International Conference on Human-Machine Systems (ICHMS)
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1 to 6
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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