Ford Exoskeleton to Power Company’s Employees Across the World

Advancements made in the development of exoskeleton technology in recent years allowed American manufacturer Ford to announce on Tuesday plans to roll out such suits on a global scale, as a means to reduce worker fatigue and reduce the risk of injury.
Ford expands use of exoskeleton to 15 factories 6 photos
Photo: Ford
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The use of the exoskeleton entered testing stages a last year at the carmaker’s facilities in Wayne and Flat Rock, Michigan. Because of the success of the technology, Ford now says it has expanded its use to 15 plants globally, to be used by workers who perform repetitive overhead tasks – Ford’s workers lift things above their head for up to 4,600 times a day.

Manufactured by Ekso Bionics, the EksoVest exoskeleton fits workers ranging from 5 feet 2 inches tall to 6 feet 4 inches tall and provides lift assistance from five pounds to 15 pounds per arm. As per Ekso Bionics’s specifications, the vest is an upper body exoskeleton that elevates and supports a worker's arms to assist them with tasks ranging from chest height to overhead.

Ford says the results of using this technology has helped reduce the lost time due to incidents in the global facilities by 75 percent, while in 2018 the incident rate was one of the lowest on record.

“At Ekso, our mission is to augment human capability with wearable technology and robotics that help people rethink current physical limitations and achieve the remarkable,” said in a statement Jack Peurach, president of Ekso Bionics.

“Advancing our collaboration with a global leader like Ford, represents a major step forward in achieving our mission as our EksoVest is deployed around the world to enhance the well-being of its workforce.”

Ford is not the single automaker researching the use of exoskeletons in its factories, but whereas it for now focused on providing upper-body assistance for its workers, others are looking into providing leg support as well.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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