MATE-XT reduces muscle effort during strenuous indoor and outdoor tasks, it is water, dust, UV-light and temperature resistant, thus ideal for difficult applications and environments.
Healthy and motivated employees with workplace optimization
With two locations and over 330 employees, the German kitchen manufacturer is no stranger to innovation, which is why managing partner Andreas Wagner began exploring ways to help the company perform more efficiently while ensuring the safety, health and sustainability of the workforce. The company commissioned Sports Scientist Klaus Westhoff, founder of BGPM Forum GmbH & Co. KG, to identify an effective and reliable health management strategy that would keep ROTPUNTK employees healthy and motivated day after day. Specialized in workplace optimization from a health and sustainability point of view, Westhoff and his team began looking for work aids that could accommodate the non-automated lifting, moving and positioning that is part of the high-end kitchen industry.
“Not all work can be automated,” explains Westhoff, “which is why we needed to identify an uncomplicated, highly efficient work aid solution that would be quickly accepted by the workforce.” The solution was Comau’s MATE exoskeleton. Easy to wear and fully adjustable, the MATE exoskeleton facilitates correct posture and reduces fatigue on the upper limbs, helping preserve the health of employees while improving their comfort and, consequently, the quality of their work.
MATE Exoskeleton for logistics, order picking and supporting truck drivers
In gaining an initial experience with the exoskeleton within daily operations, Andreas Wagner was pleased to discover that the employees not only accepted the system but enjoyed working with it. ROTPUNKT, which currently owns five MATE exoskeletons and has three more in the pipeline, has deployed the work aid in three primary areas:
- in logistics, where the kitchen elements are loaded by hand;
- in order picking, where the kitchen fronts are checked and prepared for further processing;
- within the vehicle fleet, where MATE actively supports the truck drivers who need to unload the kitchens at the customers’ site.
A completely new application for the company, the use of MATE for external logistics is proving to be a hit with workers and customers alike.
Muscolar Aiding Tech Exoskeleton is MATE to reduce human physical stress
Comau MATE, which stands for Muscular Aiding Tech Exoskeleton, is a completely passive robotic exoskeleton, created to reduce physical stress when performing heavy, repetitive or overhead tasks. Lightweight and easy to wear, its ergonomic design delivers breathable and highly effective postural support without the need for batteries, motors or other failure-prone devices. MATE is available in two different sizes, with 7 available assistance levels that workers can easily adjust themselves without interrupting their activities. In fact, MATE is the only exoskeleton on the market that accurately replicates all movements of the shoulder, helping employees perform their jobs comfortably by reducing muscle fatigue without reducing mobility or adding bulk.
Another advantage of MATE lies in its adaptability, which allows the exoskeleton to be used by different people with different builds. MATE can be easily adjusted to fit different needs with just a few initial settings – including the length of the shoulder straps and the required level of assistance based on the worker and the job at hand. Indeed, employees at ROTPUNKT who use the MATE exoskeleton are quick to point out how much better they feel when wearing the robotic device.
“You don’t have any strain on your back and shoulders any more, because half of the weight is taken over by the machine,” explains Tatjana Horn, a fitter with the company. Factory worker Uwe Mansky concurs, “My posture is different, so I always had to exert myself and my shoulders always hurt. With MATE I don’t have any problems and I actually feel quite good. It feels like I’m carrying a backpack, which doesn’t bother me at all because I’m used to it.”
Comau MATE exoskeleton in kitchen manufacturing.
Excellent working aid for employees that have to work hardly
Even when working with small and lightweight objects, the apparently minimal effort of repeated manual movements can take a toll on the body. ROTPUNKT had been dealing with this for some time before coming across the MATE exoskeleton, emphasizes Dieter Elpel, Works Council Chairman for the company. “First of all, it’s very easy. It takes a few minutes to get used to, but MATE is an excellent working aid for our employees, especially those who have to do hard work. Here it helps a lot. The employees who have tried it for a long time are enthusiastic, which means in the end we create relief with MATE. We won’t be faster with it; the work performance should remain the same. That is crucial for us, and is the will of both the management and the Work Council. Our goal is not to increase performance, but to make sure our employees go home less worn down in the evenings.”
In addition to kitchen manufacturing at ROTPUNKT, the Comau MATE exoskeleton can be used for virtually any overhead and manual task. From hammering, drilling, scaffolding, framing, assembling, gluing, painting and material manipulation to glass, window, wall and equipment cleaning, logistics and other commercial and industrial uses, MATE works like you do.