Willmott Dixon is continuing its trial of an industry-first robotic exoskeleton system, taking it to a series of projects during Open Doors week.

Designed by Ekso Bionics, the EksoVest system assists those lifting heavy objects or spending extended periods working above head-height, by supporting their arms.

While the unit doesn’t augment the user’s strength, it significantly extends their stamina when it comes to repetitive high-level operations, leaving them less fatigued and reducing the likelihood of injury, while ensuring that jobs are completed to a higher level of quality in a shorter amount of time.

EksoVest is already being used in the United States by companies including Boeing and Ford.

Willmott Dixon, which last month was named fourth best place to work in the UK in the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Work list, is currently the only contractor to be utilising the system, which costs around £5,650 per unit.

During the trial period, the vest will been used across four diverse projects throughout the Midlands, following a successful period working on a variety of projects in Wales and the South West.

The trial sites include the £22.7 million University of Birmingham Teaching and Learning Building, one of the sites chosen to host Open Doors visits.

Peter Owen, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the Midlands, said:

“If this trial proves to be a success and demonstrates tangible benefits for our people and our business, then we’ll strongly consider making an investment in this system.
“The pace of technological innovation can be overwhelming but as a responsible and forward-looking construction company, we need to ensure that we are remaining abreast of new technologies that might prove beneficial to our business and customer, and both our people and supply chain partners who are delivering projects around the country.

“This trial coinciding with Open Doors Week provides a perfect opportunity for members of the public to see this equipment in operation for themselves and goes a long way towards demonstrating how the construction sector is continuing to innovate and evolve.”

The Teaching and Learning Building is the latest project that Willmott Dixon has undertaken for the University of Birmingham, following the School of Engineering and the delivery of the Green Heart, Old Gym refurbishment and cutting-edge Data Centre.