🧑🏭🦾 High-Tech Gloves Give Workers a Helping Hand
Waupaca Foundry Inc. is a leading supplier of iron castings to the automotive, commercial vehicle, agriculture, construction and industrial markets. Using state of-the-art technology, the company produces castings from gray iron, ductile iron, HNM series high-strength ductile iron, and austempered ductile iron. The company melts some 9,500 tons of metal daily.
To improve ergonomics, Waupaca Foundry is using an innovative adaptive technology to support workers who manually grind castings. The Ironhand glove, developed by a Swedish company Bioservo Technologies, is the world’s first soft exoskeleton designed for the human hand to improve grip strength and reduce effort. The system was tested at the Waupaca’s Etowah casting finishing plant and Marinette ductile iron foundry.
The system consists of a glove covering all five fingers, and a power pack worn in a backpack or hip-pack. Pressure sensors within the glove trigger servomotors within the power unit and give the wearer a more powerful grip, which is easily adjusted for each application. The glove’s “soft extra muscle” strengthening technology merges neuroscience, mechatronics and robotics, and increases worker endurance for manual assembly tasks.