The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand

Production Sites

Exoskeletons Lighten the Load for Employees

The external support structures help employees at the Bratislava plant with manual labor on the vehicle assembly line. Volkswagen Slovakia is most definitely leading the way with this equipment.

It’s as easy to put on as a backpack and weighs just 1.9 kilos: introducing the exoskeleton. This piece of equipment is designed to support the human skeleton when carrying out physically demanding tasks on the assembly line. The key word here is ergonomics. Volkswagen has introduced 30 of these exoskeletons across the Bratislava plant, including in the assembly areas for the up! and Porsche. “The physical support system was developed, first and foremost, for those whose roles involve a high proportion of overhead work,” explains Eric Reuting, Chief Human Resources Officer at Volkswagen Slovakia.

The initial feedback from employees has been overwhelmingly positive. “I could feel a difference after just a few days,” reported Martin Rigler. “There is less strain on my arms and I can get around the vehicle much more easily.” Stefan Ziga added, “When I’ve been wearing the exoskeleton, my arms feel much lighter and don’t hurt when I’ve finished work.”

The exoskeletons are worn by employees like a kind of backpack. For Miroslav 
Agalarev, the best – and most noticeable – feature is the arm support they offer while carrying out overhead work.

                  Project Manager Miroslav Agalarev

"My arms feel much lighter and don’t hurt when I’ve finished work"

Volkswagen has been researching the subject of exoskeletons for six years now and is leading the way with this development. This pilot series in Bratislava is intended to make a contribution to improving working conditions in the Production sector. The exoskeletons are tailor made to suit the requirements of the Volkswagen employees and the conditions they face in the assembly hall. The range of movement is exceptional, not least because the synthetic support structures can be individually and freely adjusted to suit the size of each employee and the level of support they require. This all adds up to lighten the load across the entire body.