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Leobendorf: Exoskeleton helps with the construction of waffle machines

In certain work situations, it is not possible to lift materials ergonomically in the wafer machine manufacturer's production facility. In the sheet metal laser, for example, metal sheets are cut to the millimetre by a laser or parts are cut out. However, muscle power is then required to lift the sheets from the machine again.

An exoskeleton has now been purchased to relieve the strain on employees. Wolfgang Schmidt, Department Head Steel Manufacturing at Bühler Leobendorf, says: "The health of our employees is our top priority. At the same time, it was important for us to involve the employees in the decision, as they are best placed to judge which aids will make their work easier."

The choice fell on a textile exoskeleton that supports the back and hip muscles when lifting objects in a bent-forward position and makes working on the sheet metal laser easier. "As a test under real conditions in our company, we started on a small scale to gather experience and feedback. If our colleagues continue to be satisfied, we will expand the equipment," explains Schmidt.

In addition, seven support belts were provided for the employees, which also promote a straight back when lifting and support the back muscles. These are used with the sheet metal bending machines. "These alternatives should be the last choice. In our company, we pay attention to correct lifting and ergonomic working, but in some areas it is simply not possible," emphasizes Schmidt.

Tom Illauer

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