Audi is trying out an ergonomic aid that provides employees with support with lifting and carrying heavy materials to reduce the strain on their back muscles – how considerate! At the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm plants, employees are currently testing an exoskeleton at selected workstations.
The lifting aid is worn on the body and weighs around three kgs. The exoskeleton supports activities that require bending forward to pick up or put down heavy components. Carrying components is made easier as it transfers load of the heavy materials from the back towards the stronger thigh muscles.
The exoskeleton is supposed to reduce back strain by 20 – 30% while encouraging a healthier posture. Its flexible structure and low weight allows workers to walk, turn and stretch without restrictions to their freedom of movement.
“Ergonomic working practices have high priority in all areas at Audi – including production and logistics of course. With the exoskeleton, or the ergoskeleton as we also call it at Audi, we promote healthy working conditions, avoid excessive strain and maintain our employee’s performance,” said Logistics Planner and Head of the Ergoskeleton project, Vinzent Rudtsch.
Presently, employees at the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm plants are using the exoskeleton for removal of parts from crates while in production, it’s helping to ease installation of the centre console and carrying of heavy material boxes. The goal after the test phase is to gradually integrate the device into production at all Audi plants worldwide.