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ABSTRACT: The variety of different manual tasks performed in industry is infinite. In many circumstances, these tasks are carried out under difficult conditions with ergonomic concerns about the postures, force or repetitions involved. These tasks are sometimes performed using a dedicated special purpose tool, often developed by the workers themselves. These special tools are generally task-oriented only, with very little consideration of basic ergonomics. Therefore, in many cases, the design of a new or improved special purpose tool is one of the solutions that could enhance the ergonomics of the performed task. However, developing and implementing a new or improved tool is not an easy assignment and the ergonomist could face many unexpected challenges and pitfalls. This paper discusses the pitfalls that could compromise these ergonomic interventions and the critical success factors that should be considered. The main difficulties that could arise during such a project include the poor understanding of the user's needs, the hidden constraints related to the requirements of the task to be performed, the construction and testing of the prototypes, and the users’ resistance to change. Critical success factors related to worker participation, needs and constraints analysis, and the implementation of prototypes, are presented. Examples from industrial projects involving the development and implementation of special purpose tools are used to support the discussion. This paper should provide some guidance in this particular field of applied ergonomics.
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ABSTRACT: Thermomechanical pulp (TMP) fibers, generally used to produce newspapers and carton materials, have poor inter- and intra-fiber bonding contributing to low strength properties. Poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVOH) was applied as a co-additive of 1,2,3,4-butanetetracarboxylic acid (BTCA), in the presence of sodium hypophosphite (SHP) as a catalyst, to esterify paper sheets based on TMP fibers. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy technique was used to confirm the formation of the ester bond. The effects of curing temperature, molar mass and mass amount of the PVOH on the tensile index were investigated. The increasing of the curing temperature improved further the wet tensile index. The presence of PVOH increased both the dry and the wet tensile index of the paper sheets. The rise of both the molar mass and the mass amount of PVOH improved the tensile index.
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ABSTRACT: Objective: The aim of the present study was to examine the apoptosis-promoting effects and mechanisms of hematoporphyrin monomethyl ether (HMME)-sonodynamic therapy (SDT) on endometrial cancer cells in vitro. Methods: Endometrial cancer cell samples were divided into four groups: 1) untreated control group, 2) HMME group, 3) pure ultrasound group, and 4) HMME combined with ultrasound, i.e. SDT group. CCK-8 method was utilized to assess the inhibiting effect of SDT on the proliferation of endometrial cancer cells. Optical microscope and field emission transmission electron microscopy were used to characterize the morphology changes of the cancer cells induced by the treatments. Apoptosis rate, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) were examined by flow cytometer. Fluorescence intensity measured by laser scanning confocal microscopy was used to explore the variation of intracellular calcium ion (Ca2+) concentration. Apoptosis-related proteins involved in both intrinsic and extrinsic apoptosis signallings were analyzed by western blot. Results: SDT can effectively induce the apoptosis of endometrial cancer cells. Compared with ultrasound which is known as an effective anti-tumor method, SDT leads to a significant improvement on suppression of cell viability and induction of apoptosis, together with more remarkable modifications on the morphology and substructure in both ultrasound sensitive and resistant endometrial cancer cells. Further studies reveals that SDT promotes ROS production, induces loss of MMP and increases intracellular Ca2+ concentration more efficiently than HMME or ultrasound alone. SDT groups also show a rather high expression of apoptosis-promoting proteins, including Bax, Fas and Fas-L, and a significant low expression of apoptosis-suspending proteins including Bcl-2 and Survivin. Meanwhile, both cleaved caspse-3 and caspase-8 are dramatically enhanced in SDT groups. Multiple pathways has been proposed in the process, including the intrinsic activation by excessive ROS and overloaded Ca2+, silencing survivin gene, and the extrinsic pathway mediated by the death receptor. Conclusion: Given its considerable effectivity in both ultrasound sensitive and resistant cells, SDT may therefore be a promising therapeutic method for treating endometrial cancers.
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