"25% fewer days of absence in logistics thanks to exoskeletons" - Ottobock strengthens portfolio
“Exoskeletons reduce absenteeism in logistics by 25 percent”
Ottobock expands its portfolio of back support exoskeletons with the new BackX
The shortage of skilled workers is becoming a problem for many sectors across Europe due to absences caused by illness and demographic changes. In the logistics sector in Germany, illness-related incapacity to work causes 25 days of absence per year for every employee. A large proportion of this can be attributed to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as back problems caused by lifting and carrying heavy objects.
Ottobock is continuing to expand its range of exoskeletons to provide lasting relief for people in physically demanding jobs like these. The latest addition, the new BackX, is a user-friendly solution that protects a wearer's back when bending and lifting in dynamic situations. The flexible assistance system BackX was developed in concert with Ottobock's suitX Innovation Hub in Berkeley, California, and is now available in the European market.
Dr Sönke Rössing, CEO of Ottobock Bionic Exoskeletons, says: “Thanks to the three exoskeleton solutions we now offer for the back, we can address the various requirements in logistics and retail – from dynamic to stationary to standing tasks. Using exoskeletons as a personal assistance system provides measurable relief. This boosts employees’ motivation and reduces costs by increasing the number of productive days. In other words, it’s a win-win situation for employees and companies.”
Relief with freedom of movement
The new BackX exoskeleton is designed for people who need to move loads manually while maintaining flexibility: it reduces the load on the lower back when lifting objects by an average of 60 percent and compensates for loads of up to 13 kg. At the same time, it allows users freedom of movement in dynamic tasks like operating a forklift or climbing stairs.
The built-in SMART mode automatically detects when the wearer needs support and when they need freedom of movement. At around 3 kg, the BackX is especially lightweight and can be put on and taken off in less than 30 seconds. It works without the use of batteries by storing energy in springs during bending and lifting.
Strong and gentle support in daily work routines
The Ottobock Back is another model in the series of back-friendly assistance systems. This exoskeleton was developed especially for lifting very heavy objects at stationary workstations, for example when loading and unloading swap bodies. It relieves the lower back by up to 25 kilograms. Since the beginning of 2022, DB Schenker, for example, has also been using Ottobock products, including the Ottobock Back, for selected logistics applications in warehousing and goods handling.
Back fatigue can also occur due to working in an extended period of standing position or lifting lighter objects and packages. Ottobock responded by developing the Soft Back for these applications, which includes a wide support for the entire lower back that gently supports an ergonomic posture.
Protecting the body, cutting costs
Leading logistics and trading companies are already using exoskeletons for essential jobs that cannot be automated or made more ergonomic. Using them as part of the workplace equipment can be a useful solution in such situations. “Our experiences with numerous customers have shown that absences in logistics can be reduced by around 25 percent with exoskeletons,” says Dr Sönke Rössing. “In addition, there are other effects such as reduced fatigue and turnover, which means that investing in exoskeletons often pays for itself within the first twelve months after introduction.”
Ottobock has developed a cost/benefit calculator for exoskeletons to calculate return on investment more accurately. The calculator takes into account absences, turnover, productivity and quality improvement. Further information is available at https://exo.ottobock.com. Those interested can find practical examples here and and make appointments to calculate their individual return on investment for exoskeletons for their workplace or business.
Further information: firstname.lastname@example.org and + 49 5527 848 1482
About Ottobock Bionic Exoskeletons Ottobock Bionic Exoskeletons offers a comprehensive series of exoskeletons for people who work in physically challenging jobs. At the end of 2021 the division was expanded thanks to the acquisition of suitX. This led to the creation of the suitX Innovation Hub in Emeryville, California, in addition to the company’s development site in Duderstadt. Innovative exoskeletons are developed here under the leadership of Prof. Dr Homayoon Kazerooni, Chief Scientist for Ottobock Bionic Exoskeletons and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley.
About Ottobock For more than 100 years, Ottobock has been developing innovative fitting solutions for people with reduced mobility. As the Human Empowerment Company, Ottobock promotes freedom of movement, quality of life and independence. This is supported by more than 9,000 employees. With their innovative power, outstanding technical solutions and services in the fields of Prosthetics, Orthotics, NeuroMobility and Patient Care, they enable people in 135 countries to live the lives they want. Founded in 1919, the company continues to set new standards and drive the digitalisation of the industry – together with its partners, medical supply companies and international research institutions – as the global market leader in wearable human bionics. Since 2018, Ottobock has been transferring its expertise in biomechanics to exoskeletons for ergonomic workplaces. The company’s international activities are coordinated from its head office in Duderstadt in the German state of Lower Saxony. Ottobock has been supporting the Paralympic Games with its technical expertise since 1988.
Contact: Ottobock SE & Co. KGaA Corporate Communications
Gesa Liss Public Relations Manager Corporate Communications
Ottobock SE & Co. KGaA Prenzlauer Allee 242 | 10405 Berlin | Germany M +49 151 4416 1837 email@example.com | www.ottobock.com