Physical work with Exoskeletons – A live performance
Motivation and Goals
Industrial exoskeletons are fascinating new systems. They have the potential to protect against physical overload, reduce sick days, improve the quality of work and increase the satisfaction and quality of life of the workers.
The EXOWORKATHLON is intended to show the potential of industrial exoskeletons in simulated use cases and, above all, to encourage mutual exchange on this exciting topic. Different tasks with back-supporting and upper body exoskeletons are devised to collect, show and discuss data related to user feedback, ergonomics, metabolism/energy consumption and production quality.
For this first edition of the EXOWORKATHLON four tasks were defined.
In Task 1, manual box handling, a typical back-stressing work process from logistics, is considered. Task 2 includes various overhead assembly activities, which are particularly stressful for the upper extremities. In Task 3 is the focus on welding with the reproduction of real welding tasks in a constrained position, which can induce high stress in the upper extremities. Task 4 includes a representative group-work activity from timber construction, in which two people must assemble wooden beams and strips at overhead height.
These tasks are carried out twice by young workers (trainees and technical students) – once with and once without an exoskeleton. This enables an intra-individual anonymous evaluation of the effects of exoskeleton support, based on the different assessment and methods used for the different tasks.
The EXOWORKATHLON will take place twice this year, once in the context of WearRAcon Europe in Stuttgart on October 5 – 6 and once in a compact format at the A+A Trade Fair in Düsseldorf on October 26 – 29. Live reports of the event will be given during the first two days of WearRAcon Europe, while the results will be presented on the third conference day.
About the EXOWORKATHLON Team:
The Biomechatronic Systems department of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart has an extensive expertise in the field of ergonomic analysis of heavy physical work as well as with the evaluation and development of exoskeletons. Together with the Institute for Industrial Manufacturing and Factory Operation IFF of the University of Stuttgart and the worldwide exoskeleton association “Wearable Robotics Association”, this interdisciplinary team is developing the application-oriented experiment EXOWORKATHLON with ergonomics and exoskeleton expertise.
Further information on the EXOWORKATHLON is available here.
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