Information is an important part of the manual assembly process. Information provides the user with the means to fulfil assembly tasks so that the right quality as well as high productivity are accomplished. This thesis addresses issues connected to information and information use in a modern manual assembly environment, and how these issues affect human operators, quality and productivity. The overall objectives of the research were to gain further knowledge on how attention affects the internal reject rate, to investigate these phenomena in industrial and laboratory environments and finally to propose a suitable evaluation method to be utilised at the design stage of an information system. Studies were performed with the purpose of investigating how the assembly personnel were affected by the information and how it affected quality and productivity. The studies were performed in an assembly plant and in the laboratory. Quantitative data collection included 10 days and nights of production where the information impact on quality was investigated. Connected to this study was a qualitative survey performed among 171 persons from the assembly personnel. The laboratory study took place during three days, approximately eight hours each day. It involved 30 persons, all experienced assembly workers from the reference assembly plant. The focus of this study was how information affected the personnel and thereby the productivity. The findings revealed that information affected the quality rates and productivity and that this can be linked to how the information is presented as well as when the information is presented. It was possible to link these findings to the outcome of a successful information search process, and to conclude that a use of an evaluation method or work process during the product lifecycle could have made it possible to avoid some of the problems connected to the information presentation. This is the basis for a proposed pragmatic evaluation method. The method was tested as a support system during the design of a prototype user interface to be used at the pilot plant. The major contribution of this research is the connection between attention and quality as well as the connection between attention and productivity. Knowledge regarding the importance of presenting the information at the right time must also be regarded as an important and proven contribution.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.