Proposal of an ergonomic interface for supervision and control of an automated shunting device

Collaboration in the development of a proposal for between the Faculty of Transport Sciences at the University of Zagreb and Adrian Wagner from the Carl Ritter von Ghega Institute followed by a conference presentation at Ergonomics 2020.

In rail freight transport, shunting movements of freight cars are required along the transport chain in order to form or break up freight trains. In its current form, this requires shunting staff to perform these physically demanding tasks. Despite all precautionary measures, occupational accidents occur during such activities, which can lead to serious injuries. One approach to preventing such accidents is the use of automated shunting units and an automatic uncoupling robot. This is particularly suitable in marshalling yards, with the use in the receiving yard is providing the most added value. In this paper, the possibilities of such an application have been described. The operating process of an automated system and the responsibilities for the control and monitoring personnel must distinguish two operating states. The normal case and the fault case, where in the latter the responsibility lies with the personnel on site. The interfaces used for this must map the flow of information in as much detail as possible, but also as simply as possible. Nevertheless, the common standards of communication in the railroad sector must be met. This means that, in addition to working conditions under all possible climatic conditions, fail-safety must also be ensured. It is shown that the use of such a system could bring advantages for the safety of the deployed employees, as the time spent in the track area can be reduced. In addition, it is increasingly difficult for companies to recruit new shunting personnel. Therefore, if we consider a changed job description with a facilitated range of activities, this could be an incentive for new personnel. It therefore makes sense to investigate this topic in more detail and to simulate the various aspects in an experiment in order to gather more results and empirical values.