NCMS report finds Lockheed’s FORTIS exoskeleton prevents injuries at US Navy shipyards

26 February 2017 (Last Updated February 26th, 2017 18:30)

A report by the US National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) has confirmed that Lockheed Martin's FORTIS industrial exoskeleton helps enhance industrial productivity and prevent work injuries.

A report by the US National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) has confirmed that Lockheed Martin's FORTIS industrial exoskeleton helps enhance industrial productivity and prevent work injuries.

The new NCMS study has been included in the final report, titled ‘Industrial Human Augmentation Systems (iHAS), for Improved Shipyard Operations’.

NCMS' report summarises a series of tests conducted at a US Navy shipyard, and states that the FORTIS exoskeleton can help attenuate almost every injury caused by power tools by making them effectively weightless during operation.

The findings suggest the industrial exoskeleton can help mitigate injuries as well as ensure increased productivity and quality enhancements. 

Hazardous shipyard work has been shown to cause a high rate of injury in the US.

"It's clear that FORTIS can prevent accidental and long-term injuries while allowing workers to be more productive; that's a double-win, for both workers and employers."

The iHAS report states that employing human augmentation to complete shipyard tasks involving heavy tools can enhance productivity, while alleviating significant safety risks.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Advanced and Special Programmes vice-president Glenn Kuller said: “It is significant that in both tasks where the exoskeleton was used, the amount of work accomplished and time-on-task increased.

“We received valuable feedback from the study, and it's clear that FORTIS can prevent accidental and long-term injuries while allowing workers to be more productive. That's a double-win, for both workers and employers.”

The US company has offered FORTIS units on loan to two naval shipyards in order to finance the tests and evaluation efforts, which are used to measure work quality, worker productivity and ergonomic considerations.

FORTIS unpowered, lightweight exoskeleton technology can boost both an operator's strength and endurance by transferring the weight of heavy loads from the operator's body directly to the ground via several joints at the hips, knees and ankles.