What is Lift-Assist?
Lift-assist devices are designed technology or fixtures (sometimes ergonomic) that assist in the handling, moving, and lifting of objects. An increasing number of companies, particularly those within the material handling industry, are implementing lift-assist devices to assist their workers with repetitive, difficult, or time-consuming lifting tasks, the result of which can increase productivity and reduce work-related injuries. Industries that utilize lift-assist devices tend to comprise manufacturing, construction, warehousing/logistics, automotive, aerospace, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals.
Types of Lift-Assist Devices
Various types of lift-assist devices have been developed, as described below.
- Magnetic lifters: Structures that use magnetic power to lift metal material, such as steel plates or pipes; often employed for metal fabrication and scrap handling
- Forklift attachments: Devices that attach to forklifts to enhance their functionality and lifting capabilities; designed to handle specific loads or perform specialized tasks, enabling the forklift to adapt to different material handling environments
- Hydraulic lifts: Fixtures that use hydraulic power to lift and lower loads; often used in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers
- Jib cranes: Cranes with a horizontal arm (jib) that can rotate to manipulate loads within a limited area; commonly found in workshops and small-scale manufacturing units
- Vacuum lifters: Structures that use suction (or grippers) to move objects with varied or asymmetrical, “hard-to-grab” designs, such as steel drums or large sheets of metal
- Exoskeleton lift-assist devices: Wearable powered devices that assist in the lifting and maneuvering of objects to relieve physical exertion and help prevent injury
Benefits of a Lift-Assist Device
- Increased productivity: Users can lift heavier loads at faster speeds and with reduced effort, enabling production to keep up with customer demands; their operation is often simple to learn, thereby minimizing time needed for training new users on how to use them
- Healthier employees: Lift-assist devices, particularly ergonomically designed ones, enable workers to perform difficult tasks more safely, leading to fewer work-related injuries, accidents, and MSDs; a reduction in worker’s compensation claims; fewer sick days; and even a more positive workplace
- Versatility / added flexibility: Ergonomic lift-assist devices allow workers of all shapes and sizes to benefit from their uses, thereby increasing workforce flexibility; plus, due to the many types of lift-assist devices available, their uses can be tailored to manage various load sizes, weights, and shapes, allowing them to be utilized across multiple industries, and for diverse applications
Evolution of Lift-Assist Devices, The Road Ahead
From forklifts and trolleys, to intelligent lift-assist devices (ILDs) that behave like an extension of the user’s harm and hands to perform precise tasks, the technology used to design lift-assist devices has made vast improvements. For example, fixtures that were once reserved for warehouses have now been refined and engineered to help caregivers more easily and safely maneuver patients, or to assist workers in completing labor-intensive tasks with record speed and efficiency, all while minimizing risk of injury to the user. Due to these improvements, lift-assist devices, particularly lift-assist exoskeletons, are quickly becoming a growing standard for the workplace.
Lift Assist Exoskeletons
Increasingly, more industries are implementing wearable technology such as exoskeletons to help workers perform manual lifting tasks while reducing risk of work-related MSDs. Exoskeletons are wearable devices that work in tandem with the user, acting as amplifiers that augment, reinforce, and/or restore human performance. An exoskeleton can be used to offer support for workers who perform lifts, allowing them to work more safely and efficiently, while reducing the strain of the lower back and/or shoulders, the parts of the body that are among the highest causes of injury in the workplace.
Upgrade Your Lift-Assist Devices With German Bionic Exoskeletons
Powered exoskeleton suits like our German Bionic Apogee and Cray X suits are more than simply a lift-assist device; they provide support for lifting, unloading, static holds, and walking, resulting in added energy and relief to workers and reduction in sick days and turnover for organizations. More specifically, both suits, the Apogee—which features a leaner, more comfortable design—and the Cray X—designed to withstand more demanding environments (hence its being both dust- and water-proof)—provide support for up to 30kg (66lbs) of lifting compensation.
Whether it’s using exoskeletons to help lift patients in a more comfortable position, or to maneuver heavy objects on the construction site, when it comes to lifting support, German Bionic has you covered. To discover more about how our wearable devices are enabling workers to handle objects more safely and efficiently while reducing the risk of accidents and injury, visit our website: German Bionic.