Audi is detailing its new ‘Chairless Chair’, a wearable exoskeleton designed to take stress off of its production employees’ backs and legs. Three pilot prototypes of the chair, which was developed by Audi alongside a Swiss start-up company, are being used on Audi’s A4 and A6 assembly lines at the Neckarsulm, Germany plant.
The chair is part of Audi’s “workplace of the future” strategy, which aims to improve ergonomics and technology at its production sites in order to make working easier on employees. It attaches to line workers’ legs, hips, knees and ankles, while two leather covered carbon-reinforced plastic ‘struts’ support the buttocks and thighs. The adjustable design transfers bodyweight to the ground, acting like a second pair of legs.
“Audi has played a leading role in the field of ergonomics for a long time now. The chairless chair is one of many projects that we have implemented in our production processes in recent years. It helps us to enhance our employees’ well being and maintain their health over the long term. At the same time, an ergonomically optimized working environment promotes more productivity and even better quality,” said Audi’s Board of Management Member for Production, Prof. Dr. Hubert Waltl.
Audi hopes the exoskeleton chair will reduce employee absenteeism for physical ailment reasons and also allow for workers with reduced physical capabilities to undertake roles they otherwise couldn’t have.