Some people think that working in a car factory is an amazing experience. You get to see a car being born right in front of your eyes and participate in the making of it. And then there are all the bragging rights you get – all your friends would be jealous when they find out you work for Audi. But, your back may suffer from a hard work. However, now Audi is happy to have a solution – an innovative exoskeleton.
It is not too difficult to put this exoskeleton on. First you have to put it on like a pull over. Then you put straps around your hips and fit a couple of plates to your thighs. It weighs around 3 kilograms and is very ergonomic to carry. Not only that, but it provides support when workers are carrying or lifting heavy items. The exoskeleton promotes the proper posture and reduces the load on the back by 20-30 %. The exoskeleton is currently being tested in logistics, the press shop and assembly at the plants in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm.
Workplace ergonomics are very important to Audi not only because it reduces the number of work-related injuries and increases worker satisfaction in their workplace, but also because performance of factory workers is better. Vinzent Rudtsch, the head of the ergoskeleton project, said: “Ergonomic working practices have high priority in all areas at Audi – including production and logistics of course. With the exoskeleton, or the ergoskeleton as we also call it at Audi, we promote healthy working conditions, avoid excessive strain and maintain our employees’ performance”. And this device is finding purpose in many different areas in the factory.
Firstly, this exoskeleton is extremely useful in CKD (completely knocked down) logistics, where workers are taking different parts out of the crates. This work, of course, is extremely strenuous for back muscles and some of these objects are both heavy and awkward to handle. Exoskeleton is extremely helpful as it reduces load on the back and while doing so reduces the number of work-related injuries. In production exoskeleton again aids carrying heavy boxes and installation of the central consol. However, workers do have to get used to wearing the device and usage time gradually increased from two to seven hours each day during a day shift.
Audi is constantly improving ergonomics and worker safety in its factories. In fact the goal is that these exoskeletons will be used in every Audi factory worldwide. This will improve Audi’s positions and one of the top employees and will increase productivity of its workers.