Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering


The field of industrial engineering has been traditionally based on the desire to produce more goods for less money. This goal has been accomplished by a variety of methods, including improved methods, monetary incentives, and nonmonetary incentives. In the modern industry all of these may be used. Studies to isolate the effects-of such types of incentives frequently, although not exclusively, have been conducted on highly repetitive tasks. This occurs for a number of reasons: 1. The simple task reduces the variability of the output both in quality and quantity. 2. Any given number of cycles will take less time since the time per cycle is shorter. 3. The learning curve quickly reaches the first plateau. 4. The work tends to have a simple rhythm which can be used to standardize the results. This rhythm itself has been defined as a series of cycles of motions accompanied by a feeling of grouping, that is, perceived as a series of distinct, separated cycles. Barnes, Watkins, and Burtt, in fact, have concluded the following: 1. Rhythm makes the task easier and more enjoyable. 2. The worker is physiologically attuned to rhythm. 3. There is a fundamental economy in rhythmical performance because a repetition of the act is obtained without an external repetition of the impulse. Other factors tend to work against an absolute rhythm. Davis studied the effects of productivity to determine what factors accounted for typical decrements in productivity and what changes in work habits appeared to cause decreases in production. Observations were collected over a period of six months on two experienced women operators engaged in semiskilled, light assembly work. He concluded that the work decrement in operations which are flexible in performance are largely the result of personal delays, rather than the product of fumbling, errors and slowing up. Personal delays consume about 24 percent of the workday and are consistent in pattern and vary negligibly from day to day. This finding was at variance with the theory at that time, although it is widely accepted now.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Industrial engineering

Assembly-line methods

South Dakota State University Theses



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University