Industrial exoskeletons developed by the South-West State University of Kursk were tested at the Lebedinsky Mining and Processing Plant (part of the Metalloinvest company). The project is being implemented jointly with specialists from the Metalloinvest Innovation Laboratory.
Industrial exoskeletons are used to facilitate and simplify heavy physical activity. They increase the strength of the human muscles and expand the range of motion due to the external frame and adducting parts, which significantly increases the efficiency of the work performed.
The technical novelty was tested in real production conditions - on the equipment of the pelletizing plant, which is under repair. Every day, at this site, specialists of repair services mount 24 rollers on firing trolleys. Each weighs from 47 to 58 kilograms. Almost 100 trolleys are served here a month, and the total weight of the manually moved cargo reaches 120 tons. The exoskeleton, taking on up to 90% of the lifted weight, will significantly facilitate work and reduce the traumatic effect on the human spine and legs.
Two models of exoskeletons took part in the tests. "ExoHeaver LOWEBACKER" (soft type) helps to move loads weighing up to 30 kilograms and can be used for lifting, storage and transport operations. The heavier and more complex version - "ExoHeaver Active Electric" - is designed to handle loads up to 60 kilograms. The exoskeleton has its own power supply system and is controlled by an electromechanical module.
“The pilot project for testing exoskeletons was implemented as part of the MRO transformation program in the direction of“ Technical Development and Engineering, ”commented Dmitry Kazantsev, Director of Equipment for Lebedinsky GOK. - This technology is advanced in the field of mechanization of heavy physical labor, reducing the load on the musculoskeletal system, protecting the worker from possible shocks and falls. Testing of exoskeletons will continue and each model will be evaluated in terms of ergonomics, usability and safety. "
In 2020, Metalloinvest launched a large-scale program to transform the repair services of its enterprises. Over the three years of its operation, it is necessary to carry out a deep reorganization of the maintenance and repair function, changes in the culture of planning processes, organization and implementation of maintenance and repairs of technological equipment, focused on reliability, to ensure a stable, efficient state of the main assets of enterprises, to improve the practical methods of work of employees, to develop competencies and improve the system of motivation for repair personnel, build a management system that meets modern business requirements.