German Bionic CRAY X:

First Exoskeleton Made in Germany Goes into Production

Augsburg 10/01/2018 – After six years in development and a successfully completed test program in several leading industrial firms, the first exoskeleton developed and produced in Germany by Augsburg’s robotics specialist German Bionic Systems has gone into production. Recently presented to the public for the first time, as part of the VDI Conference on Robot Assistants in Production, the German Bionic CRAY X model has been specially designed for the manual handling of goods and tools, and reduces compression pressure in the lower-back area while lifting heavy loads. Exoskeletons are human-machine systems that combine human intelligence with machine power, by supporting or strengthening the wearer’s movements, thereby significantly reducing the risk of workplace accidents and loadbearing injuries. They are useful for situations in which human work cannot be fully replaced by robotic systems. This includes industrial production working processes, such as in the automotive sector, as well as in physically demanding construction, logistics or care sector work. Recent studies have shown that the global demand for wearable robotics will increase sharply in the coming years: BIS Research predicts that in the year 2026, the market will be worth 4.65 billion US dollars. The German Bionic CRAY X production model is now available for order via the company’s sales department.

“After the successful completion of a comprehensive test program that we undertook last year with leading German industrial companies, the first series model from German Bionic Systems is now ready for delivery. Based on exceptional feedback and a full order book, scaling and technological development are top priority for us, underpinned by an aim to be the leading German provider of active exoskeletons for production,” said Dr. Peter Heiligensetzer, CEO of German Bionic Systems.

According to the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA), musculoskeletal injuries account for 23 % of sick days in Germany, leading to an estimated annual 10 billion Euro loss in production and 17 billion Euro gross value loss. The causes of musculoskeletal injuries are predominantly from strain lifting and carrying at work. The active exoskeleton German Bionic CRAY X was created in cooperation with leading work ergonomists specializing in manual hand lifting of goods and tools. Wearing it while lifting heavy loads reduces compression pressure in the lower back area, thereby preventing workplace accidents and musculoskeletal injuries.

“Exoskeletons should not make super humans for production, but should rather provide physical ergonomic support that protects workers and employers from dangerous movements causing mid- or long-term injuries to the musculoskeletal system,” explained Dr. Peter Heiligensetzer. The expert for human-robot cooperation knows that the wearers’ comfort plays a central role in the acceptance of the technology. “That is why a focus of our development work in the past months has been on further miniaturizing components and using a lighter, more powerful battery.” German Bionic CRAY X features innovative micromechanical components and an ergonomic, ultralight carry system, which enables the wearer, for example, to pick up and set down heavy items from non-ergonomic positions.

To aide research on intelligent human-machine and AI systems, Dr. Heiligensetzer is working with his team on the development of a software platform based on open source technology and open standards. It follows that data gathered in the further development of German Bionic CRAY X and other active systems could be anonymized and made freely available. “As well as reducing our healthcare costs and raising productivity levels, this technology has the potential to solve a pressing issue in our society. In a time of broad demographic shifts and a reported shortage of skilled workers in Germany, exoskeletons can help make workplaces non-age discriminatory.”

About German Bionic Systems

German Bionic Systems, headquartered in Augsburg, is the first German developer and manufacturer of exoskeletons for industrial use. Exoskeletons are human-machine systems that combine human intelligence and machine power, thereby enabling individuals to gain increased strength and endurance. GBS is one of the world’s leading robotics companies focusing on humans in Industry 4.0