Companies Turn to Exoskeletons to Assist Factory Workers

cageymaru

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According to the Wall Street Journal, companies are outfitting its factory workers with exoskeletons to lower the amount of injuries caused by extended overhead reaching. Manufacturing jobs such as overhead welding are perfect candidates for exoskeleton use as weight from the arms is transferred to the hips. The effect makes the upper body feel as if it is suspended in water.

Currently the devices are passive' meaning they don't use external power. "'It's not designed to give you superhuman strength; it's designed to give you superhuman endurance,' said Zach Haas, a senior product manager at Richmond, Calif.-based Ekso Bionics , which began selling its EksoVest upper-body model in January 2018." Work-related musculoskeletal disorders cost employers up to $54 billion annually. The devices cost $4,000 - $6,000 each and battery powered "Iron Man" style suits are in development with plans to ship those in 2020.

"Exoskeletons are coming," said Frank Pochiro, a senior manufacturing engineer at BMW who is overseeing the exoskeleton rollout. "There's going to be much more widespread use in all auto manufacturing, but also in light manufacturing, construction, any industry you can think of where you're bringing your arms up over your head." Servers at last year's Oktoberfest in Munich donned Ottobock exoskeletons to carry trays of beer steins.
 

cageymaru

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Obligatory waitress in exoskeleton pic from the article.

B3-CW700_exoske_H_20190114104638.jpg
 

Mohonri

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Here's my question: Why don't they just reorient the car to a better position? At that point in the assembly, they haven't added all the fluids or anything else that's gravity-sensitive. Why not tip the car on its side so it's easier for the workers?
 

STEvil

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Here's my question: Why don't they just reorient the car to a better position? At that point in the assembly, they haven't added all the fluids or anything else that's gravity-sensitive. Why not tip the car on its side so it's easier for the workers?

Sure, they could do that.

But I cant.


Take my money.
 

TordanGow

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Waiting for a malfunction in the hydraulics to rip someone's arm out of the socket or hyper-extend a knee an extra 60 degrees.
 
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Gideon

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Here's my question: Why don't they just reorient the car to a better position? At that point in the assembly, they haven't added all the fluids or anything else that's gravity-sensitive. Why not tip the car on its side so it's easier for the workers?

We do in the actual construction of the car, that was a mechanic just working on a car on a normal service lift.
 

Brian_B

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I can't wait until some Safety Supervisor somewhere decides these are mandatory to lift anything over 5 lbs.
 

Derangel

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If it means less stress on the body, meaning people can work better with less risk then how long before companies use these as an excuse to make people work even longer shifts?
 

GSDragoon

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If it means less stress on the body, meaning people can work better with less risk then how long before companies use these as an excuse to make people work even longer shifts?

That was my thought when reading "it's designed to give you superhuman endurance."
 

tunatime

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t51b baby! its crazy when you think about how much sifi stuff form the last 40 years we are slowly working to or already have
 

viper1152012

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Having had a fair amount of disk material removed from one of my lumbar anything that reduces stress on my spine is welcome.....

That being said this Bow Flew nightmare does not seem to work as well as they portray it to.
 

c3k

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Waiting for the youtube vids of factory guys using their new exo-suits to:

1. Jump off the factory roof...onto a car.
2. Arm wrestle each other.
3. Enroll in the annual Scottish Games. Especially the Caber Toss.
 

Draax

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I don't see these taking off until they are extremely quick to step into or out of. If it takes forever to strap someone in and initialize the system it is always going to be quicker for a human to just do it themselves. Exoskeletons will also need to be in sync with human movement as any cumbersome movement will make humans not use them.
 

lostin3d

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For the most part, I think this is a really cool thing. In my older age I'm really feeling all the aches and pains from repetitive or heavy lifting work I did in my youth. Can use this now and it should be standard for many things.
 

Youn

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I dunno, these seem pretty popular and accepted, kinda cool too but there will be a generation of "eh, don't need no stinkin' robo-help!" curmudgeons

41xSTMYAXVL.jpg


not only this but things like hard hats, steel toes boots, work gloves, frickin' glasses and watches... all things we augment ourselves with but we've since stopped calling "new tech"
 

sfsuphysics

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Waiting for the youtube vids of factory guys using their new exo-suits to:

1. Jump off the factory roof...onto a car.
2. Arm wrestle each other.
3. Enroll in the annual Scottish Games. Especially the Caber Toss.
Except these are unpowered suits, they quite literally are forcing you to "lift with your legs not your back" type of thing
 

SeymourGore

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I could see the VR guys using these things to assist with their marathon VRchat sessions (or whatever's popular in the VR scene these days).
 

TordanGow

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You dont quite understand how hydraulics or this works do you?

Yes I do understand how they work. Say you had an elbow located pivot point that failed (ie. Disconnected) due to over travel of the hydraulic piston, if this thing is securely attached you it could easily cause injury.

My original comment was a light joke with the intent to highlight unintended injury risks.
 

Yaka

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although these are cool and will help certain peeps carry out thier jobs. most regular folk would be better of on a good strength (not muscle building) building program.
 

lostinseganet

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Here's my question: Why don't they just reorient the car to a better position? At that point in the assembly, they haven't added all the fluids or anything else that's gravity-sensitive. Why not tip the car on its side so it's easier for the workers?
Why not just get another worker because... f@#k'em....>_>. :(
 
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