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Supporting the wool workers

Exoskeleton is designed to provide optimum support to the upper parts of the body.

1st December 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Turin, Italy


Italian fabric mill Vitale Barberis Canonico is collaborating with Turin-based industrial automation developer Comau on the use and development of wearable exoskeleton suits.

In a first for the woollen textiles industry, the Mate-XT suits are being used by the Biella-based company to support workers in handling and lifting loads and provide relief to the joints and muscles.

Operations in textiles production do not normally involve the lifting of heavy loads, but the frequent handling of light loads such as cones of yarn are repetitive and in the longer term can cause pain and fatigue.

The Mate-XT exoskeleton is designed to provide optimum support to the upper parts of the body, in particular to the joints in the elbow-shoulder region, and is already widely used in the metal-mechanical sector.

A specific challenge for Vitale Barberis Canonico and Comau has been to adapt the devices to the particular microclimate in departments of the wool industry which, because they use natural fibres, require optimal conditions at average temperatures of 26 °C and humidity of 67%.

As a consequence, after the introduction of the first exoskeleton suits by Vitale Barberis Canonico in 2020, a second generation of suits – modified and made lighter both in terms of weight and materials – is now being tested in the company’s spinning and warping departments.

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