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Exoskeletons for the workplace

SUITX by Ottobock offers a number of exoskeleton solutions, promoting healthy working conditions and enabling people to continue working over the long term.

SUITX by Ottobock offers a number of exoskeleton solutions, promoting healthy working conditions and enabling people to continue working over the long term.

Expertise from biomechanics

Exoskeletons make jobs more ergonomic

Some of the greatest physical strains in the workplace include lifting and transporting heavy objects. This often leads to musculoskeletal disorders such as back problems, sick leave and high costs. In the logistics sector in Germany, illness-related incapacity to work causes approximately 25 days of absence per year for every employee and an annual loss in production of more than 17 billion euro.

Since 2012, SUITX has been developing body-worn support structures, so-called "wearables", to facilitate the everyday work of people performing physical labor. The team draws on Ottobock’s more than 100 years of expertise in biomechanics and orthopaedics when developing new solutions.

The exoskeleton’s functions support the body and help prevent musculoskeletal disorders and increase productivity. As a result, they contribute to reducing sick days and improving occupational safety.

More than 2,000 customers are already using the solutions from "SUITX by Ottobock", including leading automotive manufacturers such as Toyota North America and logistics service providers such as DB Schenker.

Martin Böhm, CXO Ottobock
Chief Experience Officer (CXO); photocredit: Christoph Neumann
Chief Experience Officer (CXO) Martin Böhm; photocredit: Christoph Neumann

Just put on and go

The Ottobock exoskeletons work according to a biomechanical principle that does not need an electric current. They redirect the forces in the body, storage them and release them again in a targeted manner as soon as it is needed. As an example, they are able to relieve strain on the lower back during lifting and on the arms and shoulders during overhead work. Thanks to the one-size-fits-all system, the exoskeletons are also suitable for everyone.

Exoskeletons test suitX by Ottobock

Full freedom of movement

The IX BACK AIR exoskeleton was specially developed for people whose work involves not only moving heavy loads, but also operating forklifts and other vehicles or climbing stairs. It also enables the wearer to move around freely. When users are lifting heavy objects, it reduces the load on the lower back by up to 15 kilograms.

A built-in mode automatically detects when the wearer needs support and when they need freedom of movement. At around 3 kg, the IX BACK AIR is extremely lightweight and can be put on and taken off in under 20 seconds. It works according to a biomechanical principle by redirecting forces in the body, temporarily storing them and releasing them in a targeted manner. By using the body's own energy, the exoskeleton can be worn all day without any batteries.


Benefits at a glance

-56 %

Fatigue reduction

33 lbs

Relief for the lower back

+65 %

Improved posture

+52 %

Improved endurance

<20 sec

Lightning-fast donning and doffing


Ergonomically correct standing and flexing during lifting of heavy loads

Workers in the logistics sector are subjected to extreme physical strain. In parcel distribution centres, each employee lifts around 180,000 kilograms every week – the weight of an entire Boeing 747. The consequences are back pain, an above-average number of sick days and staff shortages. Logistics companies are responding by looking for near-term solutions that will keep their employees healthy.


Developed through collaboration with logistics and storage experts, the IX BACK specifically supports and relieves the lumbar region of the spine during repetitive lifting of heavy loads at stationary workplaces. The exoskeleton not only promotes back relief, it also ensures correct posture when lifting. Its innovative design guides users to bend their knees in an ergonomically correct manner when lifting and bending, instead of falling into a hollow back - an often neglected recommendation in practice. The biomechanical principle of the exoskeleton efficiently transfers the weight of the upper body and the load to the thighs, which noticeably relieves the back by up to 25 kilograms.

The exoskeleton is equipped with a mechanical control device at the hip, which automatically distinguishes between bending and walking and switches itself off during walking. This gives employees full freedom of movement. Plus, the degree of support is continuously variable using the rotary knob, enabling adjustment to different work steps.

Exoskeleton at DB Schenker

In a multimedia article published by Prävention Aktuell magazine, employee Constantin Strobl enthusiastically describes how the exoskeleton from Ottobock relieves the strain of his daily work routine.

Benefits at a glance

60 %

Relief of the back

<55 lbs

Relief in the lumbar area

25 %

Fewer days of absence

20 sec

Lightning-fast donning and doffing


The exoskeleton for comfortable overhead work

Acting as a natural extension of the body, the IX SHOULDER AIR supports strenuous overhead work in logistics, production, servicing and trade. It is worn close to the body, in a similar way to a backpack, while enabling complete freedom of movement.

Das Design orientiert sich an den natürlichen Bewegungen des Menschen. The exoskeleton supports the wearer in lifting and holding their arms using two ergonomically shaped energy stores behind the back. Using a support structure that is precisely adapted to the human anatomy, the modules release the stored energy when the arms are raised, resulting in clearly perceptible relief.


Benefits at a glance

40 %

Fatigue reduction for shoulder muscles and joints only relieves the shoulders by redirecting the body’s own energy

28 %

Improved precision and reduced quality errors

2 kg

Lightest shoulder exo of its kind functions without a battery

15 %

Improved productivity

25 sec

Lightning-fast donning and doffing cause simple adjustment options


Unparalleld freedom of movement

People first

The French railway company Société nationale des chemins de fer français (SNCF) tested the exoskeleton in its technical maintenance centre for TGV express trains. Most of the work in the centre is done in an overhead position under the trains. Here, the Ottobock solution provided its wearers with significant relief.

Further information

SUITX by Ottobock website

Further topics

Image Zainab OTWorld 2022
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