To control vibration-induced white finger among workers performing the fine grinding of golf club heads, the aims of this study are to clarify the major vibration sources in the grinding process, to identify and understand the basic characteristics of the club head vibration, and to propose potential approaches for reducing the vibration exposure. The vibrations on two typical club heads and two belt grinding machines were measured at a workplace. A simulated test station was also constructed and used to help examine some influencing factors of the club head vibration. This study found that the club head vibration was the combination of the vibration transmitted from the grinding machines and that generated in the grinding process. As a result, any factor that affects the machine vibration, the grinding vibration, and/or the dynamic response of the club head can influence the vibration exposure of the fingers or hands holding the club head in the grinding process. The significant influencing factors identified in the study include testing subject, grinding machine, machine operation speed, drive wheel condition, club head model, mechanical constraints imposed on the club head during the grinding, and machine foot pad. These findings suggest that the vibration exposure can be controlled by reducing the grinding machine vibration, changing the workpiece dynamic properties, and mitigating the vibration transmission in its pathway. Many potential methods for the control are proposed and discussed.
Relevance to industry: Vibrations on handheld workpieces can be effectively transmitted to the hands, especially the fingers. As a result, a major component of the hand-arm vibration syndrome - vibration-induced white finger - has been observed among some workers performing the grinding and/or polishing tasks of the handheld workpieces such as golf club heads. The results of this study can be used to develop more effective methods and technologies to control the vibration exposure of these workers. This may help effectively control this occupational disease.