Preventing MSDs in the logistics sector: FM Logistic unveils the Ergoskel

FM Logistic has been awarded a contract to provide Unilever with logistics services in northern France.

FM Logistic unveiled the Ergoskel, an ergoskeleton designed to help warehouse workers lift parcels while reducing physical strain on their bodies. The Ergoskel has been developed and patented by FM Logistic and the University of Technology of Compiègne (UTC), France. 

Before drafting specifications for the project, FM Logistic and the UTC used motion capture to record the movements and postures of pickers. Motion sensors and accelerometers were placed on more than 20 volunteer pickers to measure the impact on their bodies. The results were complemented by images from 18 synchronised cameras.  

The Ergoskel is designed to facilitate the handling of parcels weighing up to 25 kg. It is worn like a backpack with adjustments for body size and weighs 2.8 kg. The vest-like device consists of a frame with elements on the upper body, lower back, and upper thighs, as well as cables with hand clutches. The lift-assistance mechanism starts when the picker places his or her hand under the parcel. It takes less than 90 seconds to put on and adjust the Ergoskel and 30 seconds to remove it. 

85% of the testers said they were able to keep their freedom of movement. The first tests show that the Ergoskel reduces strain on the back and upper muscles by 70%. 

Following lab tests at the UTC, FM Logistic is trialling 10 Ergoskel devices at five of its warehouses in France, namely Crépy-en-Valois, Longueil-Sainte-Marie, Epaux-Bézu, Arras, and Fontenay-Trésigny. A sample of 25 employees of all ages has tested the device. The next step is to further improve the device before considering a wider deployment. 

Source: FM Logistic

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