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Vacation chaos at airports: exoskeletons for employees in baggage handling can provide relief

Up to 30 kilograms of support per lifting operation: Where loaders currently haul hundreds of suitcases per hour, the logistics-tested Cray X exoskeleton from German Bionic can spare employees' backs. At Stuttgart Airport, it is already doing just that.

After NRW and Schleswig-Holstein, Berlin, Brandenburg, MV and Hamburg have now also started their summer vacations. And the chaos at the airports is increasing, not only in Germany. Flight cancellations and delays every day. The main problem is too few employees in the baggage handling areas. There, where the loaders already do heavy labor every day, hauling and stacking hundreds of suitcases per hour, half the shift is currently often cancelled due to back problems caused by extra work. Planned new hires come too late for the acute summer phase. In general, it would make sense to equip employees with back-friendly exoskeletons, which could also be implemented in the near future. The Cray X from German Bionic, for example, is already being used successfully at Stuttgart Airport.

It's no wonder that the current situation in the stalled baggage handling operations is taking a toll on employees' health. "Baggage handling is a back-breaking job. If the loaders in baggage handling have to work six days in a row, as is currently the case, with an enormously increased workload, at some point the back will no longer be able to cope," says Armin G. Schmidt, founder and CEO of German Bionic. "Our exoskeleton is made to remedy precisely this situation, not only acutely, but above all sustainably. And the ergonomic health and safety protection it creates can also be a convincing argument when recruiting urgently needed new workers."

Setting a clear signal for the health protection of its own employees

The small and lightweight Cray X power suit from German Bionic can be worn like a backpack, provides up to 30 kilograms of support per lifting operation, active walking support and is integrated into the digital workflow via the German Bionic IO platform. Thus, the active exoskeleton creates the ideal case of human and machine interacting seamlessly and intuitively.

The Cray X has already proven effective many times over in protecting the lower back of employees who lift heavy loads - in companies such as Ikea, Fiege or DPD, but also at Stuttgart Airport, which set a clear example for the health protection of its employees two years ago with the use of the exoskeletons. Stuttgart Airport is the first airport in Europe to use the intelligent Cray X power suit for baggage handling in order to relieve the physical strain on employees there and to safeguard their health in both the short and long term.

Holistic approach to safety, health and occupational safety

With its adjustable straps, the Power Suit can be individually adjusted to almost any body size, effortlessly adapting to the movements of the worker during work and reinforcing them. The exoskeleton thus also enables the inclusion of people who previously might not have been considered at all for heavier manual work. In addition, the Cray X is equipped with proprietary Smart Safety Companion software. This intelligent real-time ergonomics early warning system prevents incorrect postures and lifting techniques, preventing overload-related errors and injuries. And as the world's first and only robotic exoskeleton, the Cray X has TÜV certification.

Big plus: exoskeletons help recruit staff for manual jobs

And the use of the Cray X brings another big plus: A company's attentiveness to the health and occupational safety of its employees also helps when recruiting new employees. In order to attract talented new employees, especially in manual workplaces with high physical demands, and to keep already proven workers highly motivated with their knowledge of experience, an appreciation of work is becoming increasingly important. "For us, it's important to give physical labor the recognition it deserves," says Norma Steller, CPO at German Bionic. "If at the end of a workday, employees go home proud of their work and less exhausted, that's a good start."

About German Bionic

German Bionic, with locations in Augsburg, Berlin, Tokyo and Boston, is the first European manufacturer to develop and produce intelligent power suits. Exo or exoskeletons are human-machine systems that combine human intelligence with machine power by supporting or amplifying the wearer's movements.

The Cray X from German Bionic is the world's first networked exoskeleton for the working world, which, connected to the Smart Factory, self-learns to reinforce lifting movements and prevent incorrect posture. It thus becomes an intelligent link between man and machine. The TÜV-certified robotic exoskeleton protects the health of workers, measurably reduces the risk of accidents and thus improves work processes.

For this innovative technology, which puts people back in the focus of Industry 4.0, German Bionic and the Cray X have received numerous awards, including the Bavarian and German Founder's Prize, the Land of Ideas and Automatica Award, as well as a nomination for the prestigious Hermes Award at the Hannover Messe.

Source: Vacation chaos at airports: exoskeletons for employees in baggage handling ... | Press Portal (17.10.2022)

Tom Illauer

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