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ESSEN: August 12, 2019. DB Schenker has completed a pilot project in conjunction with graduate students from the University of Dortmund to test exoskeletons at several of the company’s logistics sites in Germany.

Exoskeletons, also known as outer skeletons or support robots, are electro-mechanical structures designed to protect and support employees while lifting or moving heavy objects.

Schenker BionicThe bionic vests are particularly designed to protect lumbar vertebrae and back muscles. The company says strain on these parts of the body is often the cause of workplace injury.

“Here at DB Schenker, our employees are our most important and valuable asset,” said Thomas Schulz, Schenker AG chief human resources officer. “I am therefore very pleased that we are taking another important step towards testing better and, above all, healthier working conditions for our employees.

“This brings us closer to our strategic target of being the employer of choice as an innovative and leading logistics service provider.”

As part of the Graduate Summer School at the University of Dortmund, DB Schenker invited around 20 doctoral students from various faculties to take part in a practical test of the exoskeletons at the supplier park of a German car manufacturer. The focus of the pilot project was the order picking and sequencing of packages weighing up to 15 kilos.

Commenting on the results, Gerald Mueller, head of Process and Efficiency Management at Schenker Deutschland noted: “The feedback from the doctoral students and DB Schenker employees was very positive and once again confirmed that the long-term use, in conjunction with ergonomically optimally-designed logistics processes, can improve the health of the employees.

“In the coming months, we will now be analyzing the results in detail and checking whether the exoskeletons will then be included in the area of process optimization,” he added.

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