An investigation into the design of tree work harnesses

Cottam, Michael Allan (2001) An investigation into the design of tree work harnesses. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This thesis describes an investigation of the application of a design strategy to the development of a tree work harness. It begins by putting the use of a tree work harness into context by describing how it is used in tree work operations. A review of the development of tree work harnesses from the early 1900's to the present day follows.
The thesis identifies the tree work harness as a particular type of product, one that already exists in a number of forms and has a number of technical requirements.
The application of design strategies and the use of design methods at each stage of the design process is examined. It is reasoned that a design strategy for a product of this type can be based on four key elements. The key elements were applied to an existing harness to produce an initial concept design. This design was further developed into a number of
prototypes and finally into a marketable product.
The study concludes that the design strategy can probably be generalised for other products that share the common attributes of being already in existence, involving an interface with people and being a semi-technical product. The design methods that are used at each stage of the process are determined by the information that is available or required. That information is product specific and it follows that the methods used within the design strategy are likely to be specific to the particular product.
A harness was developed by the author and manufactured by the National Access and Rescue Centre (NARC). This harness was tested by SGS Yarsley International Certification Services Ltd. and confirmed as meeting the relevant European standard for CE marking requirements. It is now marketed and sold as the NARC 'Tree Hopper' harness.
Recommendations for further work are suggested and include specific ergonomic studies, further development of the attachment point and analysis of the load dissipation provided by tree work harnesses.

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