Mensch und Produktion  /  12.06.2015

Prototype presentation: Exoskeleton protects workers from injuries

Prototype presentation: Exoskeleton protects workers from injuries
© ZHAW (Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften

 

Exoskeleton protects workers from injuries

The members of the Robo-Mate project have developed first prototypes that will ultimately form a so-called exoskeleton: A set of poles, motors, plastic units and straps that support workers’ arms, legs and backs when they have to lift heavy goods. These prototypes and the project are presented in Stuttgart.

In the Robo-Mate project, researchers and engineers from 12 partner organizations, including Fraunhofer IAO, are developing an exoskeleton that reduces the risks of back injuries for workers who have to handle heavy goods manually, for example in the dismantling or automobile industry. The device consists of a core module that protects the trunk from overly high compression forces. Additionally, arm or leg modules can be attached that serve purposes specific to the industry and task in question, for example recognizing work pieces, recording operations or providing information on a head-up display. The aim of the project, funded by the European Union, is two-fold: to increase productivity and to improve operational health and safety in factories. .

First prototypes of trunk and arm modules are going to be presented on 12 June at Fraunhofer IAO in Stuttgart.

Program

  • Renowned speakers will present the project
  • First on-site demonstration of the Robo-Mate trunk and arm modules
  • 3D visualizations and simulations of advanced manufacturing environments integrating exoskeletons
  • Discussions with Robo-Mate experts

Developing a device that reduces the risks of back injuries and increases productivity is not only relevant to the individual workers and company, it is also relevant on an economic level: Workplace injuries cost the European societies up to four percent of their gross domestic product and 25 percent of Europeans experience back injuries due to work. Additionally, the project creates knowledge and expertise in the robotics market sector, which is estimated to double to 66 billion dollars within the next 15 years.