Daewoo Shipbuilding Equips Workers with Wearable Exoskeletons

Exoskeletons can help workers lift heavy loads that otherwise would require either a stacker or multiple people. Massive South Korean corporation Daewoo Shipbuilding figured that its workers would be better off wearing exoskeletons for handling heavy objects.

Weight lifting is about to become less spectacular, as exoskeletons capable of helping workers lift 100 kg of metal as if it was a feather are now emerging in South Korea. Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering performed a test last year that involved exoskeletons, and is now ready to take it to the next level by equipping with exoskeletons all workers who have to lift heavy pipes and other massive hunks of metal.

The exoskeleton itself weighs 28 kg and can help the wearer lift up to 30 kg. Not only does the wearer not feel the heavy load, but neither does he feel the weight of the suit. Daewoo says the technology is now at an early stage, and that in the not-so-distant future workers wearing such exoskeletons will be able to handle 100 kg of metal equally easily.

Let’s face it, as simplistic as they may be, exoskeletons cost a lot of money. Daewoo Shipbuilding is obviously aware of this, but the corporation also took into account the massive increase in productivity that results from using these exoskeletons.

When we get tired, we lose focus, our strength reduces considerably, and we become much less accurate. Come to think of it, a worker who wears an exoskeleton all day long can go home feeling as refreshed as when he woke up in the morning. An exoskeleton obviously doesn’t have any of our faults, and best of all, it never tires. At some point they might wear out, but the manufacturer surely guarantees their functionality for an established period of time.

There is still a lot of room for improvement. The suit’s footpads don’t handle slippery or inclined surfaces that well, but the manufacturer will look into that and make changes as needed, if possible. The battery life of the exoskeleton suit could also use some improvement, as it currently only offers three hours of continuous work.

It’s great that someone decided to implement exoskeletons at such a high level, and maybe other companies will join soon.

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