Innovative work jacket supplements the exo-skeleton
The Hohenstein Institute is developing an ergonomically optimised work jacket for the optimum use of an exo-skeleton for overhead work
BÖNNIGHEIM (ab) In many branches of industry, overhead work is part of the daily routine. Work ergonomics are thus very important for companies today. This is because the ergonomic design of production and work processes maintains the performance and health of employees in the long term. For this reason, activities during which the employee must hold his or her arms above the head for a long period are becoming less common in industrial production. For example, cars are tipped onto their side in the production lines so that they can be assembled at eye height (maximum height). However, overhead work cannot be completely avoided. The consequences are often long-lasting or even permanent problems in the area of the cervical spine and shoulders. To counteract long-term conditions, an exo-skeleton (outer skeleton) for support during overhead work has been created in a ZIM joint project together with five partners. Hohenstein has developed a work jacket that has been ergonomically adapted for overhead work. It supports movement in the shoulder girdle and makes it easier to wear the exo-skeleton.
To ensure that the work jacket best meets the physical requirements of the target group, around 17,000 3D whole body scans from the Hohenstein data pool were used to create a cluster for the target group "Overhead Worker". A technical clothing design was then developed which includes the technical spacer fabrics for the reduction of pressure and regulation of the braces (contact surfaces of exo-skeleton) in the upper and lower arm area and also in the entire shoulder area to improve wearing comfort. To ensure movement freedom in the shoulder/armhole area, an elastic insert has been included in the design. This stretch zone permanently reduces the effort required to carry out the movements. In order to best cater for all body sizes, a two-way zip has been integrated for the flexible regulation of hip width. In addition, the sleeves are fastened with a cutting technology sleeve hem variant with thumb hole. The materials were selected with consideration of thermo-physiological and skin sensory aspects so that an ergonomic work jacket exo-skeleton system was created in its entirety.
The work jacket and exo-skeleton reduce the health effects for employees who carry out overhead work, and this thus reduces outage time for employees.
The ZIM project was supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The project partners were: Fraunhofer IPA Stuttgart, EGEAS GmbH & Co. KG, CONTAG AG, BE-Power GmbH, ISG GmbH and Hohenstein Institut für Textilinnovation gGmbH.