Audi Goes Ergo

Here is a man who is working on a transfer press at the Audi plant in Neckarsulm, Germany: Here is a man who is installing interior trim in an Audi A4/A5 at the Ingolstadt assembly plant: Here is a man who is handling CKD car components in the logistics area of the Ingolstadt plant: And here is a man who is polishing a mold in tool maintenance at Neckarsulm: So what do all four have in common (beyond, obviously, employment at Audi)? If you look closely, you’ll note they all have blue tubes and/or black patches that are visible on their thighs.

Here is a man who is working on a transfer press at the Audi plant in Neckarsulm, Germany:

Audi production: working without backache with the exoskeleton

Here is a man who is installing interior trim in an Audi A4/A5 at the Ingolstadt assembly plant:

Audi production: working without backache with the exoskeleton

Here is a man who is handling CKD car components in the logistics area of the Ingolstadt plant:

Audi production: working without backache with the exoskeleton

And here is a man who is polishing a mold in tool maintenance at Neckarsulm:

Audi production: working without backache with the exoskeleton

So what do all four have in common (beyond, obviously, employment at Audi)? If you look closely, you’ll note they all have blue tubes and/or black patches that are visible on their thighs.

These workers are wearing a device that weighs, itself, some three kilograms, but which helps them do things like carry heavy objects, like those CDK boxes.

They are part of an ergonomics pilot program at Audi looking into whether these devices—which consist of a metal frame connected to a support structure that has elements fitted to the upper body, lower back and thighs—can help relieve stress, strain and backache.

Explains Vinzent Rudtsch, Audi logistics planner and head of the program, “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.”

Audi is working with the developer of the device, Netherlands-based Laevo. Should it prove to be successful, the devices will be rolled out throughout Audi plants.

(By the way: those black patches on the thighs? They help distribute the load from the back to the thighs, where there are stronger muscles. It is calculated that they reduce strain on the back by as much as 30 percent.)