A Mathematical Equation for Quantifying Control Functionality in Agricultural Tractors

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Drakopoulos, Dimitrios;
  • Mann, Danny D.


The overall accessibility of controls is one of the most important issues to consider when designing a control layout. Well-arranged controls, whose operational characteristics are based on both design guidelines and on human factors considerations, allow the operator to efficiently interact with the system in question. The objective of this article is to introduce a numerical index, referred to as the "index of functionality," capable of comparing, on a mathematical basis, different control arrangements in agricultural tractors. The model is based on information that has been gleaned from the published literature, with input from both professional ergonomists and experienced agricultural tractor operators. The numerical index may take any value between 0 and +1, with +1 being defined as an optimum value in terms of the functionality of a workstation. Data were collected from six old (pre-1982) and six modern (post-2003) tractor workstations to determine whether the model would recognize improvements that have occurred in the ergonomic design of tractor control layouts over the past 20 years. An average score of 0.19±0.07 was calculated for the pre-1982 tractor workstations. By contrast, an average score of 0.63±0.10 was calculated for the post-2003 tractor workstations. A number of limitations have been identified with the current model; despite these limitations, the index of functionality clearly recognized the ergonomic improvements in tractor workstations that have occurred over the past 20 years.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
Access this publication at: ASABE Technical Library

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