Hyundai develops exoskeleton to make overhead work easier

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:

Hyundai Motor Group has developed the Vest EXoskeleton (VEX), a wearable robot created to assist industrial workers who spend long hours working in overhead environments.

The VEX is said to enhance productivity and reduce fatigue of industrial workers by imitating the movement of human joints to boost load support and mobility.

At 2.5kg, VEX weighs 22-42% less than competing products and is worn like a backpack. The back section can adjust in length by up to 18cm to fit a variety of body sizes, while the degree of force assistance can be adjusted over six levels – up to as much as 5.5kg-force.

“VEX gives workers greater load support, mobility, and adaptability when operating in overhead environments.” said DongJin Hyun, head of Robotics team of Hyundai Motor Group. “Workers will also appreciate how light VEX is to wear and work with.”

The VEX is targeted at production-line workers whose job is primarily overhead, such as those bolting the underside of vehicles, fitting brake tubes, and attaching exhausts. It underwent a pilot programme in two Hyundai Motor Group plants in the US. The trial was widely successful in assisting workers and boosting productivity. Both plants have since incorporated VEX systems into their production lines. It is expected to go into commercial production in December 2019.

As part of the Group’s plans to develop a diverse range of robotics technologies, another lightweight wearable device is soon to be commercialised. The ‘Chairless EXoskeleton’ (CEX) supports workers to maintain a sitting position without a stool or chair. At 1.6kg, it is light yet highly durable and able to withstand weights of up to 150kg.

The CEX’s waist, thigh, and knee belts can be easily fitted and adjusted to the user’s body size and height. It also features three different angle settings (85 / 70 / 55°). By reducing the user’s back and lower body muscle activity by 40%, it reduces fatigue and improves efficiency.

The Group also plans to showcase diverse robotics technology, including a ‘Hotel Service Robot,’ ‘Sales Service Robot,’ ‘Electric Vehicle Charging Manipulator,’ and other ‘Robotic Personal Mobility’ solutions in the future.


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