Development of ergonomically optimized forging tongs for power-assisted and vibration-damped handling of forged parts

Theme Forming technology
Project title Development of ergonomically optimized forging tongs for power-assisted and vibration-damped handling of forged parts (ErgoZang)
Project duration 01.03.2019 – 31.12.2021
Press release

The forging industry is characterised by small and medium-sized enterprises. SMEs are characterised by small batch sizes and a high degree of flexibility. Forging tongs are therefore used for gripping, transporting and holding forgings. Forging tongs have no ergonomic properties. The combination of permanent gripping, partly high component weights of up to 20 kg and occurring shocks and vibrations of the press is extremely stressful for the employee in the long run. This results in a large number of possible illnesses/failures (e.g. diseases of the musculoskeletal system, vascular damage).

The aim of this research project is therefore to develop a forging tong which is ergonomically shaped, dampens shocks and vibrations, provides support in applying the gripping force and reduces the loads caused by the component weight.

Publications about the project

Work-related illnesses and the resulting employee absences can have a major impact on productivity and competitiveness, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises. Particularly in the forging industry, the manual handling of forged parts leads to high physical stress and thus to frequent illnesses of the musculoskeletal system, especially of the hand-arm system. One possibility to counteract this circumstance is the use of ergonomic forging tongs. In the study presented here, the influence of ergonomic forging tongs on the physical stress of forging employees was investigated by simulation and experiment and compared to conventional forging tongs. Within the simulation and the experimental investigation, forging parts and forging tongs were varied. In the simulation, an ergonomics assessment of the forging situation could be evaluated using the Ergonomic Assessment Worksheet. In the experimental study, gripping force measurements and calorie measurements were used to determine the impact of handling the forging tongs on the forging employees. The results show that the use of the new ergonomically optimized forging tongs can lead to a significant physical relief for the forging employees. The knowledge gained from the ergonomically developed concepts can also be transferred in other industries.

forming technology, ergonomics

In manual solid forming, hand-guided forging tongs are used when processing forged parts. During the forging process, employees are physically stressed by high forging part weights and transmitted impacts. This physical stress leads to employee health limitations and increases absenteeism rates. Ergonomic forging tongs have been developed at IPH that lead to a relief of the forging employees.

ergonomics, forging tongs, forming technology, prevention

The manual handling of forged parts is physically demanding for forging employees. These physical stresses are reflected in damage to the hand-arm system and back and lead to forging employee absenteeism. In order to protect the health of forging employees, the aim is to reduce the basic stress caused by the dead weight of the forging tongs by using lightweight forging tongs.

forging tongs, ergonomics, lightweight design

Within the project "Development of ergonomically optimized forging tongs for force-supported and vibration-damped handling of forged parts (ErgoZang)", the IPH is concerned with the stresses and strains on employees in the forging industry.
In particular, the stresses caused by transmitted shocks and vibrations of the employees' hand-arm system are in the foreground.
Within the lecture, several novel forging tong concepts were presented, which can reduce the shocks and vibrations.


Ergonomics, forging tongs, shock and vibration reduction

This paper presents concepts for shock and vibration reduction of a forging tongs. In the forging industry, hand-operated forging tongs are often used for the machining of forged parts. Here, the employees are exposed to high loads from shocks and vibrations of the forming machines. A simulation model that has been created evaluates concepts for reducing the shocks and vibrations during forging

Ergonomics, forging, shock and vibration reduction

Handling hot steel parts weighing several kilos is physically demanding. A new type of forging tongs is designed to reduce stress at work, prevent pain and reduce sick leave.                             

forging, ergonomic, stress reduction


The IGF project 20505 N/1 of the Research Association Steel Forming (FSV) was funded via the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) in the programme of Industrial Collective Research (IGF) by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) based on a decision of the German Bundestag.


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Mareile Kriwall

Manager process technology