Industrial Exoskeletons: A Game Changer
While still in their relative infancy, predictions say by 2025, there will be 20,000 full-bodied exoskeletons working across a variety of industries, such as auto, aviation, maritime, construction, and logistics, according to EHS Today.
Exoskeletons are revolutionizing operations on the factory floor and on construction sites. And while many tasks can be automated, some – like complicated, repetitive tasks that require assistance from the human mind and body — just can’t be automated.
Due to this inherent automation, there will always be a need to have humans involved in the process of completing a task because they are more agile and have the ability to adapt.
Machine intelligence can only go so far. Robots and computers are great at highly repetitive duties that are part of an assembly line, but they can’t handle switching to different types of tasks at a moment’s notice. While they have the strength to do those tasks, they don’t have the human’s brain. Industrial exoskeletons, on the other hand, worn by humans, can go from lifting a pallet onto a truck one moment, to moving an engine block onto an assembly line the next.
Wearable exoskeleton devices have been known to reduce musculoskeletal loads that would not otherwise be helped by an engineering process change, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
A human can step inside an exosuit and move naturally using their own intuition, instincts and reflexes to control it. In essence, industrial exoskeletons take the best of both worlds – the intelligence of human operators, and the endurance and strength of robots – and combine them. They bridge the gap between extremes of tasks that demand repetitive motions by robots and fully manual work, points out The Robot Report.