TricorBraun releases new reports outlining research findings and offering best practices for EZ Scoop placement
New research commissioned by rigid packaging leader TricorBraun shows that in addition to eliminating the need for consumers to dig their hands into powder to retrieve the scoop and compromise hygiene, the EZ Scoop improves ergonomic exposure for assembly line workers without affecting operational efficiency.
TricorBraun released a new report outlining these findings and a guide offering best practices for EZ Scoop placement. Download complimentary copies at "EZ Scoop: An Ergonomic Review" and "EZ Scoop Placement Guide".
"What makes the EZ Scoop in powder packaging so appealing is that not only does it improve the consumer experience, it improves the ergonomic experience of workers involved in the packaging process without impacting operations," said Becky Donner, senior vice president of design and engineering at TricorBraun.
In a typical powder packaging process, assembly line workers manually drop scoops, one at a time, into bottles containing powder products.
The repetitive motion can result in neck and wrist strain due to container placement and posture; it can also cause potential contamination due to how workers insert the scoop.
The TricorBraun study, conducted by international ergonomics company Blankenheim Services, evaluated1 dropping the EZ Scoop – which can be inserted into a bottle's neck ring at any radius – with a "light lip pinch" and "cup-grasp and placement" techniques.
"A beautiful, consumer-friendly design doesn't make sense if it impedes the production process," said Donner. "When developing packaging components, we take the complete picture into account -- not only consumer needs and preferences, but operational and production matters too."
The ergonomic evaluation found that the EZ Scoop can easily be incorporated into packaging production lines without negative impacts on productivity levels or added ergonomic stress to workers. Specifically:
- The EZ Scoop did not slow the production rate in the packaging process. Additionally, with a minimal (1-2 minutes) amount of training, the EZ Scoop created no additional wrist or hand stressors for assembly line workers. There were also less unnecessary neck and shoulder motions with the EZ Scoop, which incrementally decreased workers' total upper extremity ergonomic exposure.
- By having the EZ Scoop placed in the neck of the bottle and within the worker's line of site decreased the likelihood of a worker missing placement of the scoop in the bottle and did not have to waste motions looking into the bottle to verify placement. Additionally, this process does not require the workers' head and mouth directly over the powder food product, reducing contamination risk.
- When using the best practice technique of pinching the EZ Scoop lip and placing the scoop, ergonomic stressors at the wrist were comparable or slightly improved; other stressors were decreased.
- At a line speed of 20.5 bottles per minute, for a two-hour rotation, the pace of work and calculated ergonomic stressors were under 60 percent of the recommended maximum levels without requiring additional operational time.