A smarter, safer way to move green tyres from one machine to another has not only made a positive difference to tyre builders in Goodyear's Uitenhage manufacturing plant, but it has also earned the facility top spot in the company's global ergonomic challenge.
The addition of an automated tyre chute and lifting mechanism, which makes it quicker and less physically taxing for tyre builders to shift heavy Wrangler tyres between stages, scooped first prize in Goodyear's regional Ergonomic 'Find It-Fix It ' challenge. The project also went on to finish in third place globally - a fantastic achievement for both the plant and its dedicated health and safety team.No one gets hurt
The challenge attracted 109 ergonomic improvement entries from 40 Goodyear factories around the world. The entrants were judged by Goodyear's Global Health and Safety Group, whose ultimate goal is to make Goodyear's workplaces so safe that no one gets hurt. Entries were reduced to a list of finalists from each region, based on the criteria of risk reduction, creativity, sustainability, waste reduction, productivity improvement and return on investment.
The 2011 Ergonomic challenge was won globally by Goodyear Lux Mold for its Regrooving Depth Indicator Pin Drilling project. South Africa's Green Tyre Lift Assist placed first in the Europe, Middle East and Europe region.
Ergonomics is the science of making work operations efficient and comfortable for the human body. Stoffel Williams, health and safety officer at the Goodyear plant in Uitenhage, said it impacted on safety, production flow, operations and costs. "Ergonomics is simply about taking the pain out of work. It is about doing the job better and smarter, preventing injuries, decreasing fatigue and errors, increase productivity and improving quality of work."Manual function is now mechanised
Goodyear South Africa's winning ergonomic improvement was made to a tyre building machine, which handles approximately 70 heavy tyres per shift. "Previously, once the tyre builder finished working with a tyre at the machine, he then lifted it off and hauled it about five metres to the sling truck before dispatching it to the spray booth. This manual function has now been entirely mechanised. The builder now stays at the machine, rolls the tyre into a chute and feeds it to an overhead conveyor by means of an up-lifter.
"These are heavy duty Wrangler tyres, weighing approximately 20kg. If you consider the daily requirements of approximately 70 tyres, coupled with the force required for lifting and carrying over a five metre distance for seven hours, it is easy to see how fatigue can accumulate and put him at risk of injury," Williams said.