The French Railways have designed a multi-functional exoskeleton that can help its workers by greatly reducing the physical effort needed to lift heavy objects.
The product will be on sale from July 2019 From the collaboration between SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français) and the startup Ergosanté Technologie, after four years of research, Shiva Exo was born, a new type of exoskeleton, able to assist personnel in physically binding tasks. The wearer is able to lift considerable weights with less effort
and without physical damage.
The goal is to lighten the workers’ physical efforts and make them less tiring in everyday life.
Exoskeletons are structures applied on the body to support muscles and bones in case of strong solicitations. The term mostly identifies “active” armor, ie with motors or other systems to make them move, compared to “passive” ones.
New light armor for arms and legs are proving very useful for improving the safety and health of workers. The goal is to reduce accidents at work and make less frequent occupational diseases typical of hard jobs, such as the transport of materials or use of heavy tools. The French National Railway Company is the first railway company in the world to use this type of product since the currently available exoskeletons are not multipurpose.
The startup Ergosanté Technologie said that during the design phase of Shiva Exo, SNCF were not satisfied with the state of the art of the products in circulation, so it was necessary to develop a specially designed product, which was also of interest to other prestigious customers precisely because of its flexibility. Airbus Helicopters will soon adopt Shiva Exo.
Technically, Shiva Exo is made of 90% composite materials, some of which are produced with 3D printing, it is light but robust and above all flexible. The technical project started in March 2017, Shiva Exo was tested starting January 20, 2018 at the Technicentre de Bischheim near Strasbourg, where 20 people tried to perform their daily tasks wearing the multi-function exoskeleton.
Shiva Exo guarantees support for the neck and to the flexion of the trunk. Equipped with an adjustable spring, it also serves as an aid to handling, so it facilitates the use of heavy tools.
The SNCF exoskeleton will be available for maintenance, logistics and mechanics by next summer: the delivery date of the final version of the new exoskeletons should take place on May 13th. The product will be freely available for sale from July 2019.