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05 March 2024

EXO CORNER show how exoskeletons improve the working environment at SICUR

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EXO CORNER is held for the first time at SICUR with lectures and exhibition area

Experts at the International Security, Safety and Fire Exhibition, organised by IFEMA MADRID and which draws to a close today, have demonstrate how these devices can be adapted to any type of workplace to prevent numerous muscular injuries.

Experts participating at EXO CORNER, as part of SICUR 2024, have shown how exoskeletons improve safety in the workplace and how the addition of these devices to the workplace can facilitate the work of professionals, reducing exertion and preventing different types of muscular injuries. The International Security, Safety and Fire Exhibition, organised by IFEMA MADRID, held from 27 February to 1 March, draws to a close today.

EXO CORNER, a new section at SICUR 2024 created in collaboration with Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV), showcased the very latest studies and innovations in the area, as well as a Speaker's Corner to complement the exhibition area, with the participation of representatives from IBV, Gogoa–Cyber Human Systems, Healthy Technical Suits, BiosafetyIruña Automation Technologies, Ergosante–Hapo, Panter and Metalco.

Mercedes Sanchis, director of Innovation at Instituto de Biomecánica de Valencia (IBV), explained how they can help incorporate an exoskeleton into a company, “from the selection process looking at what device is the most suitable, considering the characteristics of each position, to the validation of the impact on the person, from a biomechanical perspective (muscular exertion and articular movements) and from a worker acceptance perspective”. He also spoke about the exoskeleton valuation services at sectoral level, fine-tuned by the IBV, which allows for the “identification of the different types of exoskeletons for the most critical tasks in different sectors from an ergonomic approach.

Juan Iceta, Head of Growth at Gogoa–Cyber Human Systems, focused his address on body-skeleton fusion and the artificial muscles in action. First, he highlighted the technological innovation of “soft skeletons” (textile exoskeletons), which combine advantages like “the lightness, ease of adjustment and placement, and a simple disconnection when not required”. He also presented their Exoarms product, “combining protection of the back and the arms”. Iceta went on to explain how to ensure that “the successful implementation of exoskeletons among workers can be a shared success with the objectives of the company, with the ultimate goal of reducing musculoskeletal injuries and fatigue”. Finally, he assured those present that SICUR 2024 constituted “a great occasion to show the diverse applications of exoskeletons in different sectors and economic activities”.

Artificial muscles

Bernat Graupera, from Healthy Technical Suites, gave a talk titled ‘Muscle suit series: health for every workplace environment’ as part of which he presented “the most powerful, light and functional passive exoskeleton in the world”. These are exoskeletons of Japanese origin designed with artificial muscles that assist and prevent all kinds of muscular back injuries in any workplace environment”. According to Graupera, “exoskeletons are a reality in Spain in sectors as different as healthcare, logistics and the industrial and food sectors”.

Meanwhile, Diego Arbea, sales representative from Biosafety, showed us an exoskeleton for the fingers with their Ironhand device, “the first soft active exoskeleton for the hand”. Firstly, it's “a device that’s very simple to place, which protects the fingers from any possible impacts, cuts or overexertion: and it is also a robust structure, with a part that allows the user to retain the sense of touch”. Its applications include the application of staples, inserts, covers, protective rubbers, etc. Ironhand is “a motorised glove that allows for more grip strength with no risk of injury”. It features “pressure sensors on each finger and artificial tendons, that, through a mobile application, allows for the regulation of the strength to be exercises at each moment”. Among other applications, it can be used   for welding, reducing vibrations, etc.

Artificial Intelligence

Panter organised a session on the project ‘EXOEPI: Artificial Intelligence in Footwear,’ delivered by Tatiana Maestre, Innovation Officer at INESCOP. Maestre defined EXOEPI as “a robotic device based on artificial Intelligence that, integrated with footwear, helping the user develop walking movements, reducing muscular fatigue and boosting performance.” It is developed for “long-lasting emergency activities”. The project is driven by Panter, INESCOP and the Neuroengineering Biomedical research group at the Universidad Miguel Hernández in Elche.

Salvador Cebolla, manager at Prolians Metalco, focused his talk on “solutions to prevent musculoskeletal disorders”. He pointed out that “within all the value-added services our company offers for the management of personal protective equipment, we have different exoskeleton solutions in our portfolio”. Specifically, he focused on “a new model that allows us to combine lumbar support with textile elastomer technology, with the support for the shoulders in movements above the heart line with metallic parts, all integrated into the same device”.

Finally, Ricardo Masián, manager at Internaco-ErgoSanté-Hapo, highlighted the implementation of exoskeletons in the workplace in relation to lumbar support, prevention of epicondylitis (tennis elbow), relief for the shoulders and arms, and the new Hapo Neck for cervical relief. He discussed a success case at Air France, “developing a procedure, equipment and methodology used to obtain objective data for the use of exoskeletons in a real and specific environment”. So, “with the data on inclinations, angles, heart rates, and surveys completed before and after each test, greater comfort was achieved along with increased efficiency in the prevention of possible injuries, ease of use of the device, a feeling of confidence and non-invasive on the workers, and at the company level a valuation of the workplace and greater empathy between company and workers”.  

As well as EXO CORNER’s Speaker’s Corner, the International Security, Safety and Fire Exhibition also saw numerous meetings, debates and talks on every day of the conference, as part of the framework of FORO SICUR and SICUR CYBER, complementing the exhibition area with more than 650 exhibitors showing the latest, cutting-edge developments in integrated security.