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Eye tracking provides valuable insight into factory safety

Research consultants from Tobii Pro Insight have conducted a study into eye tracking at the metal foundry of H&H Castings, and the results reveal unique insights that will contribute to the quicker onboarding of new workers, efficiencies in the foundry’s operations, better training guidelines, and reduced risk.

“Eye tracking certainly opened our eyes to the true impact that visual attention plays in a foundry,” said Jacob Hammill, system manager of H&H Castings. “When you are working with molten metal, it’s difficult to get up close and observe how a task is being conducted. Eye tracking can bridge that gap to give our new hires a whole new understanding of the process. Consultants from Tobii Pro Insight helped us identify unique visual skills that we can now build a training program around.”

H&H Castings trains a new worker in the melt department twice a month on average, since it’s one of the most volatile positions in the factory. The average training time is a week. “We hope the eye tracking video will save us two days per employee. Ideally this would save us 400 hours of training time per year in that department,” said Hammill.

Workers who participated in the study wore eye tracking glasses for 15-30 minutes as they completed their foundry tasks, and it was discovered that huge amounts of concentration and focus are required. Any break in concentration could have a disastrous impact. The eye trackers provided a close-up supervision of how this process was conducted through the eyes of experienced workers.

Video taken can now be shown to trainees for the purpose of instruction and the analysis of the attention data revealed steps that can be taken to make the entire metal pouring process safer and more efficient.

“With the attention data we were able to help H&H Castings understand behaviors that are intuitive to a skilled performer but difficult to articulate to the novice,” said Mike Bartels, Senior Research Director, Tobii Pro Insight. “We could also identify what is happening immediately before an error on the line occurs that would negatively impact efficiency.”

“We live life visually and through eye tracking we can produce a reliable barometer of processes, training and cognitive load,” said Tom Englund, President of Tobii Pro. “Our research consultants can apply the same eye tracking methodology to any business to ascertain the unique processes and skills needed for a more productive and safe work environment.

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