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19. February 2024

Exoskeletons are making life easier for production workers in Kassel.

When Tony Stark puts on his legendary Iron Man suit, the engineer and defence industrialist turns into a superhero who can save the universe with his superhuman powers. Although the exoskeletons currently available on the market may not quite be able to compete with the high-tech kit seen in the Marvel films, the two do have something in common, which is that they both make physical exertion easier for the people wearing them. Originally designed for military purposes and the medical rehabilitation of patients with paraplegia, exoskeletons are becoming an increasingly common sight in industrial production facil­ities. One such place is Rheinmetall’s site in Kassel, where the defence and technology company develops and manufactures tactical wheeled vehicles.

The Ottobock exoskeleton, which takes some of the strain off warehouse and production workers carrying out overhead work, weighs just under two kilos. Using sophisticated spring and cable technology, the equipment significantly reduces the effort needed to perform work above shoulder height. The exoskeleton is worn like a rucksack. You put the straps over your shoulders then fasten the belt around your waist and the cuffs around your arms and you’re done. Thanks to the biomechanical support, working puts much less strain on shoulder muscles and joints. The exoskeleton assists Rheinmetall workers with lifting objects as well. All in all, that means better ergonomics in the workplace, fewer physical complaints and thus a healthy and productive workforce.

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