U.S. Navy Banks on Lockheed Martin Exoskeletons for Shipyard Workforce Maintenance

CIOReview Team | Friday, 05 June 2015, 10:43 IST

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ORLANDO, FL: Lockheed Martin, Security and Aerospace Company have been given a contract through the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) for the U.S. Navy to estimate and test two FORTIS exoskeletons, marking the first purchase of exoskeletons for industrial purpose. Exoskeletons, primarily used in military, are mobile machines powered by a system of motors or hydraulics which can be worn by a person and delivers a part of the energy for limb movement. Over the past five years, Lockheed Martin has been working on exeoskeletons and developed a range of tools for military and industrial purposes. The FORTIS exoskeleton is an unpowered, lightweight exoskeleton that boosts an operator's vigor and stamina by shifting the weight of heavy loads from their body directly to the ground. This is an effort to mature the exoskeleton technology and transfer to the Department of Defense industrial base, perform testing and evaluation for industrial hand-tool applications at Navy shipyards. "Ship maintenance often requires use of heavy tools, such as grinders, riveters or sandblasters," says Adam Miller, Director of New Initiatives at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "Those tools take a toll on operators due to the tools' weight and the tight areas where they are sometimes used. By wearing the FORTIS exoskeleton, operators can hold the weight of those heavy tools for extended periods of time with reduced fatigue." The FORTIS exoskeleton enhances the strength and endurance of maintenance workforce in the shipyard environment. The ergonomic design moves naturally with the body and facilitates employees to maintain flexibility. Exoskeletons do not hinder with the regular work enabling the employees to work longer, more efficiently without tiring themselves. "We are pleased that once again a technology advanced through our highly successful Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities program will be put into commercialization," says Rick Jarman, President and Chief Executive Officer of NCMS. "The Lockheed Martin FORTIS exoskeleton contract is just another example of how collaboration around research and development speeds the time to market for these important innovations. We applaud Lockheed Martin for seeing the value in our CTMA program."

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