Biomechanical Analysis of Stoop and Free-Style Squat Lifting and Lowering with a Generic Back-Support Exoskeleton Model

Mark Tröster*, Sarah Budde, Christophe Maufroy, Michael Skipper Andersen, John Rasmussen, Urs Schneider, Thomas Bauernhansl


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1 Citationer (Scopus)
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Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) induced by industrial manual handling tasks are a major issue for workers and companies. As flexible ergonomic solutions, occupational exoskeletons can decrease critically high body stress in situations of awkward postures and motions. Biomechanical models with detailed anthropometrics and motions help us to acquire a comprehension of person- and application-specifics by considering the intended and unintended effects, which is crucial for effective implementation. In the present model-based analysis, a generic back-support exoskeleton model was introduced and applied to the motion data of one male subject performing symmetric and asymmetric dynamic manual handling tasks. Different support modes were implemented with this model, including support profiles typical of passive and active systems and an unconstrained optimal support mode used for reference to compare and quantify their biomechanical effects. The conducted simulations indicate that there is a high potential to decrease the peak compression forces in L4/L5 during the investigated heavy loaded tasks for all motion sequences and exoskeleton support modes (mean reduction of 16.0% without the optimal support mode). In particular, asymmetric motions (mean reduction of 11.9%) can be relieved more than symmetric ones (mean reduction of 8.9%) by the exoskeleton support modes without the optimal assistance. The analysis of metabolic energy consumption indicates a high dependency on lifting techniques for the effectiveness of the exoskeleton support. While the exoskeleton support substantially reduces the metabolic cost for the free-squat motions, a slightly higher energy consumption was found for the symmetric stoop motion technique with the active and optimal support mode.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Udgave nummer15
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2022

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