Exoskeleton for miners of the future

A new commercially available exoskeleton could equip miners to safely lift and manipulate weights of up to 90kg all day without risk of injury. While it sounds like a future of mining concept or a scene from an Iron Man movie, the exoskeleton has already been developed and orders have been placed by a US Government agency.

The exoskeleton could safely transform a range of tasks in mining logistics and mine maintenance operations that either require two-person lifts or use of a range of manual handling equipment such as forklifts or small cranes. It seems, on the surface at least, that any task in the mining industry that requires lifting or loading could be transformed through the application of the new exoskeleton.

Designed and manufactured by US robotics company Sarcos, the exoskeleton is a powered, untethered, industrial suit that improves human strength and endurance without restricting the operator’s freedom of movement.The company says “The Sarcos Guardian® XO® full-body battery-powered exoskeleton is a first-of-its-kind wearable robot that enhances human productivity while keeping workers safe on the job.”

The exoskeleton is based on research and development initially funded by the US Defense Agency DARPA. That funding and development started in 2000 and the product has evolved through the advancement in computing power and materials since that time.

“The exoskeleton enables workers to perform hours of physical activity, including repetitively lifting and manipulating heavy or awkward objects, that would otherwise be impossible for a single human to perform,” the company said.

Click here to learn more about the application of exoskeleton in the coal industry



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