At Dachser's food warehouse in the Swabian town of Langenau near Ulm, a large number of sacks containing, for example, baking agents and ready-mixes are picked every day. Weight per sack: 25 kilograms. To relieve employees of the physically demanding work, Dachser already launched a pilot project in 2019 with exoskeletons that have mechanical spring systems. However, such passive devices merely shift the acting forces.
Now, however, Dachser is relying on two active, AI-based exoskeletons from Augsburg-based robotics manufacturer German Bionic at its Langenau warehouse. These robots for dressing are strapped to the back like a backpack and attached to the chest and thigh with straps. In addition, the active exoskeletons called Cray X have battery-powered motors that assist the user in lifting and carrying heavy objects.
Another advantage: If an employee bends down to pick up a sack on a pallet, the exoskeleton ensures that he does not arch his back too far. If he straightens up again, the device registers the intention and helps him move upward.
However, all the work is not taken away from the human muscles. It can be roughly said, for example, that lifting a 30-kilogram weight with the support is about as strenuous as lifting five kilograms. Incidentally, the device's small battery lasts for one shift without needing to be charged in between.
Source: Dachser: Tightening robot helps with lifting (cash.at) (19.12.2022)