US - After successfully carrying out trials at its Michigan and Flat Rock assembly plants, Ford has said that it will roll out a new wearable technology called EksoVest to help workers in 15 plants located in seven different countries. The technology will assist employees when performing repetitive and strenuous overhead tasks, such as reaching up with a power tool to screw bolts that secure the car's brace.
"Building vehicles is physically a tough job," observed Bruce Hettle, Ford group vice president, manufacturing and labor affairs. "We care about our employees and are trying to help them do their jobs with the least amount of wear and tear on their bodies possible."
As well as ensuring that workers are more comfortable, Ford believes that the technology will lower the number of injuries they obtain, and will consequently help to improve efficiency of the plants. Since 2005, incidents in Ford's global facilities that resulted in lost time have fallen by 75%.
Ford is also currently trialling the use of wearable suits with tracking technology at its engine assembly plant in Valencia, Spain. The company is planning to use the data obtained by these suits to enhance workstations.