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Among other things, so-called exoskeletons - supporting devices for the body that are intended to simplify bending, lifting and stretching - have been on display at the trade fair in Munich since yesterday.

BILD tests the helper skeleton. One model is manufactured by the Dutch company "Skelex". It is supposed to relieve the shoulders during overhead work. Fact: When screwing on a simulated car floor, the hand and cordless screwdriver are noticeably pressed upward by a spring during lifting - purely mechanically.

Company founder Gaurav Genani (36): "In the car industry, mechanics make this movement up to 15 times per minute - with exoskeletons, it's much easier." Cost per device: 3500 euros. The result: fewer shoulder and back problems.

For companies, however, the investment pays off, says Urs Schneider (51), head of the Exoskeleton Association Europe: "A study from the U.S. has shown that exoskeletons make employees sick significantly less often. Companies save costs this way."

In plants of Hyundai and Toyota, the skeletons are therefore already mandatory worldwide, for example for overhead activities. Many other companies could follow suit. Schneider: "Workers can do their jobs longer this way, are happier, less stressed, and sick less often."

In this way, the use of exoskeletons can also help combat the shortage of skilled workers. The helper skeletons have been used particularly successfully in welding, says Schneider: "We were able to show on more than forty welders that the activity is significantly less strenuous for them and that the weld seam is clearly better at the same time."

It could be the beginning of a small revolution in the labor market. Company boss Genani hopes that the exoskeletons "will be standard in European companies in two to three years." In Europe alone, they could make the daily lives of nine million workers in industry, the skilled trades or construction significantly easier, says Genani.

Source: Exoskeletons support workers: This thing keeps my back free | Regional | (17.10.2022)

Tom Illauer

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