The Charger Blog

Making the Production Line Safer

A research paper a team of graduate engineering students wrote about preventing injuries in the manufacturing process earned an award at the Northeast conference of the American Society of Engineering Education.

January 14, 2019

By Jackie Hennessey, contributing writer

Graduate students with adviser Ali Montazer (seated)

Despite automation, manual lathes are still used on most manufacturing production lines as well as in school and university fabrication shops. Yet research into injuries related to manual lathe use is relatively scant, say a team of Tagliatela College of Engineering Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management graduate students.

Armed with background in mechanical and industrial engineering and a keen interest in finding a way to prevent injuries in the manufacturing workforce, Madhuri Kudke '19 M.S., Harish Kusekar '19 M.S., Chaitanya Matapathi '18 M.S., Ramcharan Pulugurtha '19 M.S., Sohail Shaikh '19 M.S., and Girishwaran Sundar '19 M.S. started researching the effects a lathe operator’s posture can have on muscular-skeletal injuries. "The manual lathe is used abundantly, but the research done in this field isn’t a lot considering how much it is being used," Matapathi said.

The team went on to win third place at the 2018 Northeast conference of the American Society of Engineering Education held at the University of Hartford for their paper "Quantification of Posture in Human-Lathe Interface." "In our research we found appropriate postures that one must be in, while working on a manual lathe, in order to prevent musculoskeletal disorders," Matapathi said.

"It inspired us to challenge ourselves to achieve something big in the coming years."Chaitanya Matapathi '18 M.S.

Ali Montazer, professor of industrial and systems engineering, and the team’s faculty advisor, said he was proud of the work the team put into their research and that their work "addressed human operator safety and well-being while working with manufacturing machinery."

"All of the students, except one who earned a credit hour of independent study, volunteered to work on this project for the sake of learning and professional development," he said.

The team members are planning to get their research published and hope that it can help make production lines safer for those who use manual lathes. "I have personally worked on lathe machines," Kudke said. "So I know the dangers of it." She added that their research could provide "proper guidance about ergonomic practices in human-machine interaction."

"We are grateful to Dr. Montazer who guided us and motivated us at every point of the research," said Matapathi.

"Presenting our paper boosted our confidence," he said. "It inspired us to challenge ourselves to achieve something big in the coming years."