Expiry type

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REFA defines process types as "a designation for the interaction between people and equipment with input within certain process sections ". This is based on the definition of the REFA work system. In a work system, a person generates an output, i.e. a work result, a product from an input with the help of a resource . The work required for this is referred to as the workflow . Process types in this context is the generic term for an analysis instrument with which the work processes can be classified.

Importance of the types of processes for humans

Process types Mensch2.svg

In the picture types of processes related to humans , the possible types of processes of humans and their structure are shown. In addition, the associated formula symbols of the REFA methodology are given. Basically, it must be considered that all human activities are differentiated according to influenceable (B) or uninfluenceable (U), whereby the classification into influenceable also includes the distinction between fully and partially influenceable. This classification describes the extent to which people are bound to the process and at the same time makes it clear whether or not starting points for process control can be in the human area. The activities that can be influenced are summarized under the term performing .

In action

Work tasks are performed during the specified working hours .

Out of use

People are not employed for a long time during working hours ( illness , further training , long-term disorders, etc.).


Statutory, collective bargaining or company-regulated work breaks or other occasions when (partial) work is not carried out in the company.


Carrying out a main, secondary or additional activity.

Main activity

Scheduled and immediate fulfillment of the work task.


Likewise planned activity, but only indirectly serving the work task.

Additional activity

Activities whose occurrence or sequence cannot be planned ( dealing with faults , helping others, dealing with a lack of information, activities without an order ).

Interruption of activity

Business interruptions can arise from a variety of reasons. A distinction is made between planned and unplanned and, in the case of the planned, those that result from the work flow or from the need for people to recover from work - according to plan. In addition, people can interrupt their activities for personal reasons.

Process-related interruption

Scheduled waiting of people for the end of a process section that runs independently on the equipment or work item (also waiting for cooling, drying, the next piece on the assembly line).

Interruption caused by a fault

Additional waiting for people due to technical, organizational or informational deficiencies in the process.


Waiting for a planned recovery time to reduce previous work fatigue. A distinction must be made between a break , which is usually accompanied by a shutdown, and relaxation. Breaks and rest are aimed at fundamentally different types of fatigue . Breaks, the minimum duration and frequency of which for Germany is regulated in the Working Hours Act, are aimed at cyclical fatigue that arises from the biological daily rhythm of a person ( circadian rhythm ) and that occurs even without work. They are also used for eating meals in clean surroundings and for socializing. Recovery, on the other hand, is necessary in order to counteract any additional fatigue caused by work.

Personal interruption

The cause of the interruption lies in the person themselves and is not planned (getting coffee, going to the toilet, smoking, chatting, being late, etc.).

Meaning of the process types for the equipment

Process types Betriebsmittel.svg

As can be seen in the illustration Process types related to the equipment , the structure of the process types for equipment is analogous to that for humans. However, it is here of use (one person one should machine not as often said in the vernacular sawn serve ) instead of activity spoken. Because of the low flexibility of resources in relation to humans , the types of additional use are naturally quite limited.

The break in the breakdown due to recovery and personal reasons may surprise you. The analogy becomes perfect here: The equipment does not wait to relax or drink coffee, of course, but for the person who interrupts the use of the equipment for such reasons.

Significance of the types of processes for the subject of work

Process types work item.svg

The screen Process types related to the work item shows the structure of the process types for the work item . As can be seen, all changes in substance and position are understood as types of process in the sense of working on the object. By handling the change of the location is in the working system meant for transporting is a change in location between work systems. Quality checks are recorded separately. Noteworthy is the distinction between lying and camps . Lying records the planned or unplanned stay of the work item in the production area. Storage, on the other hand, means lying (as planned) in storage areas.


  1. REFA Association for Work Studies and Business Organization e. V. (Hrsg.): Methodology of the company organization: Lexicon of the company organization . Munich: Carl-Hanser, 1993. ISBN 3-446-17523-7 . P. 9
  2. Grap, Rolf: Production and Procurement: A Practice-Oriented Introduction. Munich: Vahlen, 1998. ISBN 978-3800623211 . Pp. 157-162.
  3. Company holidays