Nowadays, economical, technical and ergonomic factors have a great importance on the design of the agricultural tractors. The paper illustrates the use and the management of heterogeneous product information (manual measurements and drafts, 2D drawings, technical documentation, photos), advanced CAD modeling tools and digital human models, for the redesign and the ergonomic optimization of an agricultural tractor’s driver cab. The project development has been organized using a top–down approach in a collaborative environment. At first, a manual measurement with gauges allowed to realize a technical draft of the whole agricultural tractor and of each component part of the driver cab. Then a main skeleton has been created in Catia V5 environment in order to specify all the datum elements necessary to model each sub-assembly of the tractor. Cabin, platform, engine, tires, seat, dashboard and controls have been organized separately and modeled considering the details related to the manual measurements and to the technical standards. Once obtained the 3D CAD model of the tractor, an opportune questionnaire was prepared and a test campaign was carried out with real operators in order to define the more critical control devices within the driver cab, as regards to usability and ergonomic issues. An “Ergonomics’ Evaluation Index” (EEI) was defined taking into account the posture angles of the operator and the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment analysis tool available in the “Ergonomics Design & Analysis” module of Catia V5 based on the use of a digital human model. The index was validated comparing the results of tests carried out using virtual manikins of different percentiles performing a specific driving task, with the results of tests carried out by real operators, of the same percentiles, performing the same driving task. Critical values of the EEI obtained during some driving tasks in virtual environment, suggested to modify the shape and the position of some control devices in order to optimize the ergonomics of the driver cab. The adoption of the top-down modeling based approach allowed each change on a singular component part to be automatically propagated on the whole assembly, making easy the changes on the virtual prototype.

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