The Hilti Group has joined forces with Ottobock to develop exoskeletal systems for health protection and productivity in the construction industry
The construction technology group Hilti and the medical technology company Ottobock are combining their expertise in the fields of safety, health protection and biomechanics to expand their portfolio of ergonomic solutions to include exoskeletal systems.
Johannes Wilfried Huber, head of Hilti’s diamond systems business unit, said: “Exoskeletons are an important trend having great relevance for us. They provide relief for physically demanding tasks, such as those performed on construction sites every day.
“In Ottobock we have the ideal partner to combine our user protection and ergonomics knowledge with 100 years of biomechanical expertise.
“Our technology partnership will serve as the basis for the development of additional innovative and customer-oriented systems.”
Dr Sönke Rössing, head of Ottobock Industrials, commented: “We are delighted to be opening up a new area of application together with Hilti. We are building on our experience gained from more than 500 successful exoskeleton projects, including in the automotive industry and various trades.
“There is a great deal of potential for solutions that reduce the physical strain on workers in the construction industry.
“We want to jointly expand this pillar in the coming years.”
This division has been developing industrial exoskeletons from the Paexo product range since 2012 to create healthier workplaces.
Hilti will launch the first joint product, the EXO-O1, in autumn 2020.
It is a passive model that does not require an energy supply. The weight of the arms is transferred to the hips via the forearm supports using mechanical cable pulling technology.
Independent studies and Ottobock research have shown that this reduces the peak load on the muscles and relieves shoulders by up to 47%.
Exoskeletons can make a significant contribution to health protection, particularly regarding work performed above shoulder level and overhead work.
Fatigue is also reduced. As a result, this type of work can be carried out over a longer period of time with much greater productivity.
Over the longer term preventive relief can help reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the shoulder area.