The Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) is calling for volunteers to test exoskeletons on site.
The CSIC, with its partner National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, has conducted three field lab studies (as part of the EXSKALLERATE initiative) to evaluate the use of passive exoskeleton suits in different construction scenarios – such as roofing, plasterboarding and the manufacture of timber panel cassettes – and now wants projects to volunteer to pilot the technology on site.
Speaking to BIMplus sister website Construction Management, CSIC impact manager Alan Johnston said: “We have seen big changes in the approaches to health and safety over the last couple of decades and the widespread use of exoskeletons could be the next big development.
“It is no secret that the sector is striving to seek new talent, both to fulfil the new demand for low-carbon construction and to take over from those approaching retirement. A new generation, reaping the benefits of this modern PPE from the beginning of their careers, could be transformational for the sector’s health and wellbeing.”
The lab tests took place at CSIC’s Innovation Factory – in partnership with A C Whyte, Forster Roofing, Stewart Milne Timber Systems, Morris & Spottiswood and ECOSystems Technologies – and used two different types of exoskeletons: the Herowear Apex and Auxivo Liftsuit, both of which protect the upper body and back.
Johnston added: “Rather than active exoskeletons, which often include a robotic element, we found that passive suits were less cumbersome and, therefore, better suited to a wider range of construction activities.
“The initial feedback from the tradespeople and SMEs involved has been positive and encompasses a range of factors, including the overall user experience, comfort, usability, and the impact of stresses or strains on the body.”
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