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Ergonomic Trials for Isolators


3 Nov 2023

A Vital Step in Isolator Design

Isolators should be designed with consideration of comfort for a wide range of personnel who may be expected to operate and work at, either standing or sitting for long periods of time.

To ensure that the operator remains comfortable and is able to perform specific process tasks or operations, we offer an ergonomic assessment meeting which should take place during the design review stage of the project. The purpose of this meeting is to ensure a full understanding of the proposed Isolator design and to assist the end user to evaluate ergonomics associated with the design in relationship to the process.

The mock-up is an exacting replica of the proposed design but is constructed from wood. The wooden construction will be fitted with adjustable height glove ports and will be used to ratify working heights, positioning of components within the Isolator and to confirm the overall dimensions.

A pre-determined list of interventions should be prepared for the mock-up meeting to allow a step by step simulation of the process and should also engage with operators to encourage their support and understanding of the solution prior to design freeze. The design and functionality of isolators are pivotal in ensuring a safe environment for either the operator or the product. One step that significantly contributes to the efficacy of isolators is the utilisation of ergonomic mock-ups during the design phase. Ergonomic mock-ups are full-size models of the isolator which are used to evaluate and enhance the design from a human factors perspective before the final version is produced.

Here’s a further breakdown of why ergonomic mock-ups are essential in the design of isolators.

User Safety and Comfort:

Ergonomic mock-ups provide a tangible platform to assess the ease of use and the safety of the operators. They help in identifying potential ergonomic issues like reachability, visibility, and comfort which are crucial to ensure that operators can work efficiently without risking repetitive strain injuries.

Operational Efficiency:

By identifying and rectifying design flaws early in the process, ergonomic mock-ups contribute to creating a seamless operational flow. This helps in reducing the time and effort required to perform tasks, thereby enhancing productivity.

Cost Efficiency:

Rectifying design issues post-production can be a costly affair. Ergonomic mock-ups help in identifying and fixing these issues in the design phase itself, saving both time and resources.

Compliance with Regulations:

The pharmaceutical industry is heavily regulated to ensure the safety and efficacy of the products. Ergonomic mock-ups aid in ensuring that the design complies with the various regulatory requirements including those related to ergonomics and user safety.

Enhanced Training:

Mock-ups can also be used as training aids to acquaint the operators with the equipment in a risk-free environment before they operate the actual isolators.

Feedback Integration:

Collecting feedback from the operators and integrating it into the design is smoother with the help of ergonomic mock-ups. This iterative process leads to a design that is both user-friendly and efficient.

Boosting Innovation:

The use of ergonomic mock-ups encourages a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. It allows designers to experiment with new ideas in a risk-free environment, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in isolator design.

Client Satisfaction:

Providing clients with a tactile representation of the final product, and involving them in the evaluation process, can significantly enhance client satisfaction.

Ergonomic mock-ups are more than just physical models; they are a crucial tool that bridges the gap between design concept and reality. In an industry where precision and safety are paramount, investing in ergonomic mock-ups during the design of isolators is a prudent choice that reaps substantial benefits in the long run.

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