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Ergonomics. 2010 Jun;53(6):748-57. doi: 10.1080/00140131003675109.

Directional control-response relationships for mining equipment.

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  • 1School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland 4072, Australia.


A variety of directional control-response relationships are currently found in mining equipment. Two experiments were conducted in a virtual environment to determine optimal direction control-response relationships in a wide variety of circumstances. Direction errors were measured as a function of control orientation (horizontal or vertical), location (left, front, right) and directional control-response relationships. The results confirm that the principles of consistent direction and visual field compatibility are applicable to the majority of situations. An exception is that fewer direction errors were observed when an upward movement of a horizontal lever or movement of a vertical lever away from the participants caused extension (lengthening) of the controlled device, regardless of whether the direction of movement of the control is consistent with the direction in which the extension occurs. Further, both the control of slew by horizontally oriented controls and the control of device movements in a frontal plane by the perpendicular movements of vertical levers were associated with relatively high rates of directional errors, regardless of the directional control-response relationship, and these situations should be avoided. STATEMENT OF RELEVANCE: The results are particularly applicable to the design of mining equipment such as drilling and bolting machines, and have been incorporated into MDG35.1 Guideline for bolting & drilling plant in mines (Industry & Investment NSW, 2010). The results are also relevant to the design of any equipment where vertical or horizontal levers are used to control the movement of equipment appendages, e.g. cranes mounted to mobile equipment and the like.

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