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Exoskeletons pass everyday test: Innovative technology relieves employees in the warehouse

DACHSER has tested active exoskeletons from German Bionic for everyday work in the warehouse for the first time. The results were convincing. Now the technology is to be used at other locations.

A great deal of manual work is still required in the warehouse, sometimes including physical activities, for example when unloading goods or picking. For some time now, DACHSER has been investigating ways to support employees with technical aids for physical work. So-called exoskeletons are particularly promising in this regard. These external support structures have been used in the medical field for a long time, and more and more market-ready devices are now available in industry as well.

In 2019, DACHSER already conducted initial tests in the warehouse, primarily of passive exoskeletons with mechanical spring systems, rails, or weights that provide support when lifting loads. In the meantime, active exoskeletons have also reached a level of maturity that can improve processes in the warehouse. Active exoskeletons facilitate lifting activities through battery-powered robotic motors. This provides a high degree of relief for the lower back when lifting heavier loads, and the wearer experiences less fatigue, which counteracts poor posture.

Active exoskeletons from German Bionic in use in Magdeburg

Active exoskeletons from the German manufacturer German Bionic were tested in the warehouse of the DACHSER logistics center in Magdeburg in the spring. The aim was to gather empirical values under real conditions and to obtain feedback from employees. Devices of the type "Cray X" were used to support various processes in goods receiving, picking and at the packing table. The exoskeleton can provide 30 kilograms of relief per lifting operation and also supports carrying.

The exoskeleton can provide 30 kilograms of relief per lifting operation and also assists with carrying.

"The positive effects of the exoskeletons quickly became clear," says Stephan Heinemann, Contract Logistics Manager at DACHSER's Magdeburg Logistics Center. "They relieve our employees very directly when handling heavier loads and provide ergonomic stabilization of the body. This also has long-term benefits, because the exoskeletons prevent harmful overloads and accidents at work." The ease of use of the devices was also convincing, which ensured rapid acceptance by the test subjects.

Technology with a future

The positive experiences are to be used. "During the test, everyone noticed the hoped-for relief of the lower back by the exoskeleton and rated it as positive," confirms Stephan Heinemann. In the future, three active exoskeletons will therefore be used regularly at the site.

Other locations in the DACHSER network are also using the new technology in the warehouse, including the Ulm logistics center starting in the fall. "By using new technologies and innovations, we are continuously making processes at DACHSER, including those in the warehouse, more efficient and more powerful. Above all, this includes supporting people at all levels of their activities in the warehouse," adds Thomas Klare, Head of Corporate Contract Logistics at DACHSER. "The use of active exoskeletons impressively demonstrates how modern technology not only makes work easier immediately, but can also have a positive effect on the health of our Logistics Operatives in the long term."

Source: Exoskeletons pass everyday test: Innovative technology relieves employees in the warehouse (dachser.de) (18.10.2022)

Tom Illauer

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