Ironhand® :Le Gant bionique au service de la Santé et Sécurité au travail
Title translated into English
Ironhand® : The bionic glove for occupational health and Safety
Film: Duration in minutes
02:43 (2 minutes et 43 secondes) minutes
EIFFAGE presents its robotic glove developed in partnership with the Swedish company Bioservo and designed for the demanding environment of the construction sector. This active and versatile exoskeleton, which is entirely flexible, is designed to mechanically accompany the natural force of the hand to reduce the impact of the physical constraints that may be generated by all the manipulations carried out by operators.
Called Ironhand®, it improves performance and well-being at work thanks to a unique technology coupling IoT and Robotics. After two years of development and full-scale tests on Eiffage Group sites, the Ironhand® glove is now distributed and available throughout Europe for all construction trades.
The video presents this glove and the very encouraging results of tests carried out over several months in real working conditions on EIFFAGE's construction sites.
The glove is equipped with 6 sensors: 5 on the last phalanx of each finger of the hand, and the 6th on the palm. The synthetic tendons embedded in the glove's fabric follow the anatomy of each finger. They can develop a force of the order of 4 kg per finger, replacing the force that the operator should have developed.
The Ironhand® glove is versatile in its use. It can be used at any workstation where manual handling is required, more or less frequently: grasping, tightening, holding, gripping, pinching, cutting, clamping, bending, gripping, welding, supporting, pulling, pushing, holding... The glove is connected by a cable, along the arm, to a power unit that can be used for 7 hours continuously and independently by the employee. This mobile device is both portable and lightweight. The glove weighs 20 grams; the motor unit 800 grams. Since it can be used for all tasks where the hand and wrist are heavily stressed, thanks to a control box, the Ironhand® glove can also be customized. Sensors in the glove record the pressure exerted by the hand. The microprocessor integrated in the glove then develops and adjusts the force required to be applied to each finger, thanks to a motor unit located in the back, to reduce the effort by activating synthetic tendons integrated in the glove. The amount of force applied by the synthetic tendons is adjustable by the operator using a remote control unit attached to the shoulder on one of the backpack straps.
Analysis of the data recorded by the bionic glove's microprocessor has shown that the reduction of effort for the operator is systematic, for all the workstations that have been selected to test Ironhand®. The intensity of the effort reduction or compensation varies according to the workstation and the frequency of handling by the operator: from 25% to 86%.
Simply relying on existing prevention and protection measures is not enough to achieve a high level of performance in Occupational Health and Safety.
With its Ironhand® glove, EIFFAGE is demonstrating its commitment to testing, experimenting and researching all the innovations that would make it possible to achieve the best possible level of prevention and protection for the health and safety of its employees.
In France, 87% of occupational illnesses concern musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which have increased by 10 to 15% each year for the past 20 years. 40% of these MSDs affect the hand and wrist. In addition to being used for risk prevention, the glove is also intended to promote the integration, or return to work, of disabled people. The concept of the glove consists of providing employees with robotic assistance to facilitate their daily tasks, reduce the physical constraints linked to handling, and preserve their health by preventing the appearance of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
Eiffage's ambition in terms of safety goes beyond continuous improvement. Only a methodical, multi-disciplinary and forward-looking approach makes it possible to develop innovative solutions in terms of safety and health protection. The Prevention department of EIFFAGE's Infrastructures division has thus moved closer to medical expertise, which is highly advanced in the field of prostheses, which constitute the first exoskeletons available on the market. Bioservo Technologies AB had developed medical rehabilitation equipment (Carbonhand®) in Sweden that enabled users to regain their grip capacity, which had been lost or diminished following an accident or illness. A process subsequently adopted by Nasa and General Motors in the United States. For Eiffage, the initial aim was to ensure that this robotic medical prosthesis could be adapted to the construction industry for all workstations requiring manual handling, and then to validate the concept of the bionic glove - based on physical assistance equipment - by developing an initial flexible prototype that could be used at any workstation. Several workstations, where the hand and wrist are in high demand, have been identified in the Group's different businesses: road, civil engineering, metal, energy-systems and concessions.