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Hohenstein’s work jacket supplements exo-skeleton

The Hohenstein Institute is developing an ergonomically optimised work jacket for the optimum use of an exo-skeleton for overhead work.

23rd August 2017

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Bönnigheim

Protective, Clothing/​Footwear, Medical/Hygiene

In many branches of industry, overhead work is part of the daily routine. Work ergonomics are thus very important, because the ergonomic design of work processes maintains the performance and health of employees.

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.

Movement changes the physical dimensions. During overhead work, the back width, back length and arm length, for example, are increased whereas the shoulder width is reduced. © Hohenstein Group

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 are designed to reduce the health effects for employees who carry out overhead work, thus reducing 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.

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