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Sun September 19 2021

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Willmott Dixon trials bionic vest to aid manual handling

4 Oct 18 Willmott Dixon has been trialling a new item of smart workwear that is designed to aid manual handling.

The Eksovest is an upper body exoskeleton vest that supports the arms during heavy lifting.

It has been developed by US robotics firm Ekso Bionics, which describes itself as “a leading developer of exoskeleton solutions that amplify human potential by supporting or enhancing strength, endurance and mobility across medical and industrial commercial applications”.

The Eksovest currently costs £5,650. Willmott Dixon has been trying it out on the construction of a new school development in Cardiff with a view to rolling out its use nationwide.

In Cardiff, the vest is assisting those working at the Cardiff West Community High School, a £31m project which will provide a new school for 1,200 secondary students as well a new home for more than 300 sixth-formers. The site was chosen to trial the technology due to the range of technical activities required to complete the build.

Neal Stephens, managing director for Willmott Dixon Wales and South West, said: “Innovation is in our DNA and this could revolutionise the ability of our people on site to lift heavier objects. The wellbeing of our people and supply chain is always our number one priority and the more we can use technology to support this, the better.

“The Eksovest technology should lead to teams on site feeling less exerted, meaning improved wellbeing and productivity. This investment also demonstrates the development of our new Eureka fund in supporting technology and innovation that will drive change in our construction industry into the 21st century.”

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