A wearable robot fitted to worker’s waists to reduce work-induced back stress and improve work efficiency has been introduced at a Japanese recycling facility operated by Hamada Kagaku Co., Ltd.
Developed by ATOUN Inc., an in-house venture of Panasonic based in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, a total of 12 units will be delivered to facilities operated by Hamada Kagaku.
Hamada Kagaku, headquartered in Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture, recycles food waste and used cooking oil.
The recently delivered Powered Wear ATOUN MODEL Y units are used by workers who remove collected meat fats (beef fat and pork fat) from containers.
Because the containers of meat fats vary in type and shape, it is difficult to mechanise or automate the removal process. Meat fats in baskets are particularly heavy, so they place a severe burden on the backs of the workers.
Use of the powered suits is said to reduce the physical burden on workers and also improve the efficiency.
“We were wearing waist supporters before, but once we started using the powered wear, we no longer need the waist supporters. The work is much easier to perform thanks to the powered wear,” said one operative.
While examining the effect of the powered suit in use, ATOUN and Hamada Kagaku plan to collaboratively propose 'workstyle reforms' to the recycling and environmental business fields.
ATOUN said that using the powered suit at HAMADA KAGAKU will act as a springboard and it aims to deliver 20 units to recycling companies in fiscal year 2018.
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