Anyone that had to work on their cars while it's on the lift knows just how excruiciating it can be at times. Whether you're replacing brake pads, checking on your suspension, or performing some other type of maintenance, your arms will be worn out by the time you're done tinkering.
But imagine having to do that almost the entire day. That's what factory workers at Audi have to endure when they assemble vehicles during their shifts. But what if there was a way to actually lessen the burden from the factory workers?
Well just like what Hyundai envisioned several months ago with the VEX and CEX exoskeletons, Audi have also come up with a similar solution. The company is currently conducting tests to improve employee ergonomics by way of a comparative study of two exoskeletons. Designed by Ottobock and Skelex, these two external support structures help workers while performing overhead tasks by protecting their joints and tiring their muscles less quickly.
Around 60 employees are currently using the exoskeletons over a period of several weeks at certain workstations. These include: assembly, paint shop, and tool construction at the company's Ingolstadt facility. Throughout their testing, employees will be tasked of checking whether freedom of movement is restricted, is it comfortable to wear during shifts, and how much support is being offered by the exoskeletons.
From installing brake lines, screwing underbody panels, and applying corrosion and sealant protection, the employees wearning the exoskeletons will need to see if the systems are helping / reducing stress on their bodies.
“Our employees are our most important asset. By constantly reducing the burden at the workstations, we can enhance their health and well-being. New technologies such as exoskeletons, with which we are making production more and more progressive, also contribute to this,” said Peter Kossler, Audi AG Board of Management Member for Production and Logistics.
Having a dedicated (and reliable) workforce building vehicles is something of a feat in itself. But in order to for that workforce to be able to work more efficiently and tire less, perhaps these exoskeletons are the key in achieving that.