Hilti unveils wearable exoskeleton

July 28, 2020
Hilti North America has unveiled its EXO-O1 wearable exoskeleton, designed to ease overhead and shoulder height and above applications in the commercial construction industry.

Hilti North America has unveiled its EXO-O1 wearable exoskeleton, a new human augmentation device that the company says will help commercial contractors, tradesman and management alike tackle health and safety as well as labor shortage challenges within the commercial construction industry.

"Wearable systems like exoskeletons will help reduce strain and fatigue for both experienced and novice users, at a time when the industry is managing a workforce shortage challenge," notes a Hilti statement.

To create the EXO-O1, Hilti Group partnered with Ottobock, a global leader in prosthetics, orthotics and exoskeletons that help people increase and retain their physical independence.

The exoskeleton's development is initially focused on overhead and shoulder height and above applications, because this type of motion is so physically intensive and fatiguing. Hilti is currently in real-world job site testing and will be bringing the exoskeleton to the market later this year.

"We want to improve the health and safety of our customers, directly impacting job site productivity – so they can stay on time and on budget," said Johannes Huber, Head of Business Unit Diamond Systems at Hilti Group, parent company of Hilti North America. "Customers that embrace innovation and invest in the latest health and safety technology will be better able to attract and retain the best people as well as keep their job sites productive."

The exoskeleton machinery is only part of the new product offering. Hilti understands that for customers to embrace technology transformation, organizational change management and a focus on people is required. As such, the company also plans to offer EXO-O1 implementation, training and support services on-site for customers and their teams.

The EXO-O1 is Hilti's first foray into exoskeletons for the construction industry. There will be more human augmentation developments to come from the brand. Per the company's statement, "Hilti has long been delivering technology to augment workforces across dynamic jobsite conditions, including in the areas of ergonomics, workflow automation, and semi-automation such as the [company's] all-new PMD 2D Layout, total stations and Diamond Cut Assist solutions. And soon, Hilti will have additional news to share regarding continued advancements in jobsite automation innovations, including but not limited to new robotics technology."

In recent years, Hilti notes it has actively worked with start-ups and other external partners to couple its understanding of customer pain points with new technologies and innovative solutions, including robotics, from the outside to create solutions for commercial construction challenges.

"Our innovations have always been fueled by our deep understanding of our customers' challenges and needs, so it's only natural that we can drive innovation with solutions for human augmentation and jobsite automation," said Rafael Garcia, Senior VP and CMO of Hilti North America. "Human augmentation and job site automation innovations, alone or combined, will create productivity gains the likes of which haven't been seen since cordless tools got a foothold in commercial construction."

Learn more at http://www.hilti.com

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