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Motion Study is a scientific technique introduced by Frank Gilbreth.

It is one of the techniques of work study recommended by the FW Taylor to decide upon chosing the method that will be best for doing a job effectively and efficiently.

Motion study is a systematic way of determining the best method of doing the work by scrutinizing the motions made by the worker or the machine. As per Gilbreth it is the science of eliminating the wastefulness due to unnecessary motions. He was interested in finding the one best way to do the job. He analyzed the motions of bricklayers and was successful in reducing the number of motions of a bricklayer from 18 to 5.

Motion study can be divided into three components or types:

Therblig analysis: A therblig is a small part of a job. Gilbreth gave 17 basic motions of a worker each motion is known as therblig.

Micro motion study: It is the study of elements of an operation with the help of high-speed movie camera in order to eliminate the unnecessary motions involved in the operation and balancing the necessary motions.

Principles of micro economy: This motion study find out the correct application of theories behind motion elements to achieve synchronization of human body movements, best layout of work places and optimum design of equipments. The five basic principles of micro economy are:

  • Principle of minimum movement
  • Principle of natural movement
  • Principle of habitual movement
  • Principle of rhythmic movement
  • Principle of symmetrical movement

This scientific technique is conducted with the objectives of:                                    

  • To determine the movements of workers when they are performing the job.
  • To differentiate the productive and unproductive movements.
  • For cutting down or eliminating the unproductive movements.
  • To design the suitable equipment and tools to minimize the unproductive movement of workers.

Motion study is conducted before the time study. Both studies help in determining the best method of doing a job and standard time allowed for it.

Example: While observing an average worker, if it is observed that worker has to bend frequently to pick up the tools from the tool box placed under his table, then a stool can be placed near his seat to keep the tool box over it so that worker does not waste his energy in bending again and again. Same energy he can use for improving his production capacity or efficiency level.

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