Psychophysical modelling for combined manual materials-handling activities

Bernard C. Jiang, James L. Smith, M. M. Ayoub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Most psychophysical studies in manual materials handling (MMH)are involved only with single MMH activities, i.e. lifting, lowering, carrying, holding, pushing or pulling. Very little research has been reported on the determination of operator capacities for combinations of MMH activities (e.g. lifting a box, then carrying the box, or carrying a box, then lowering the box). These kinds of combined activities are prevalent in industry and in our daily lives. The objective of this study was to utilize the psychophysical approach to examine the effects of combinations of lifting, carrying and lowering activities. Twelve male students served as subjects for the study. The capacities that were determined as the maximum acceptable workloads for a 1-h work period for four individual MMH activities—lifting from floor to knuckle height (LFK), lifting from knuckle to shoulder height (LKS), lowering from knuckle to floor height (LOW) and carrying for 3·4 m (C) —and three combined MMH activities—LFK + C, LFK + C + LKS and LFK + C + LOW—were determined psychophysically under three frequency conditions: one time maximum, one handling per minute and six handlings per minute. Combined MMH capacities models were developed using the following three methods: a limiting individual MMH capacity, isoinertial 1·83-m maximum strength and fuzzy-set theory. The advantages and disadvantages of different models were discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1173-1190
Number of pages18
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1986


  • Manual materials handling
  • Psychophysical modeling


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