Hyundai Motor Group has developed the new Vest EXoskeleton (VEX), a wearable robot designed to help industrial workers who spend long hours working in the main environment.
VEX increases productivity and reduces the fatigue of industrial workers by mimicking the movement of human joints to increase support and load mobility. Wearable polycentric axes – combining multiple pivot points with multiple-link muscular assistance – eliminates the need for a battery.
The 2.5 kg VEX weighs 22-42% less than competing products and is worn as a backpack. The user puts his hands through the straps of the vest, then fastens the buckles to the chest and waist. The back can be adjusted up to 18 cm in length to fit a variety of body sizes, while the emergency assist level can be adjusted to six levels – up to 5.5 kgf.
“VEX provides workers with greater workload support, mobility and adaptability when working in above-ground environments,” said DongJin Hyun, Head of Robotics at Hyundai Motor Group. “Workers will also appreciate how lightweight the VEX is for carrying and handling them.”
The newly developed VEX is intended for workers in a production line whose job is primarily overhead, such as those attaching the underside of a vehicle, installing brake pipes and attaching exhaust gases. The development of VEX included a pilot program at two Hyundai Motor Group plants in the United States. Testing has been successful in helping workers and increasing productivity, and both plants have incorporated VEX systems into their product lines.
The group is considering the implementation of VEX at plants worldwide. It is expected to go into commercial production in December, and is projected to cost as much as 30% lower than existing products, which typically cost about $ 5,000.