John Deere Deploys Comau’s Mate-XT in Parts Distribution Center

July 28, 2023
The wearable exoskeleton supports worker ergonomics at John Deere’s Campinas, Brazil facility.

To help alleviate physical stress and reduce the ergonomic risk to workers in its Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil parts logistics operations, John Deere has deployed multiple Mate-XT wearable exoskeletons from Comau (a supplier of automation technologies including robots and vision systems). Workers at the 75,000m2 Campinas facility select, sort and package hundreds of parts per day, a task that involves repetitive movement of the arms, shoulders and back.

According to Comau, Mate-XT accurately replicates all movements of the shoulder, helping employees perform their jobs comfortably by reducing muscle fatigue without limiting mobility or adding bulk. The exoskeleton can be adjusted to fit different people with different body types by changing the length of the shoulder straps and the required level of assistance based on the worker or the job.

To help John Deere quantify the benefits of using Mate-XT, Comau performed an electromyographic analysis of the ergonomic risk factor. Using the Mate-XT kept the muscle at a rest stage for 98.5% of the activity time (compared to only 2.4% of the time without the exoskeleton).

The Mate-XT exoskeleton is EAWS-certified (Ergonomic Assessment Work Sheet), which enables John Deere to acquire an objective measurement of ergonomic improvement and projected benefits in terms of reduced muscle fatigue and execution speeds. Comau’s exoskeleton is also water, dust, UV-light and temperature resistant.

Comau adds that Mate-XT ensures proper muscular balance while optimizing the energy expenditure needed to stabilize and sustain the weight of the arm. Wearing the exoskeleton, arm stability can be maintained using only 10% of the operator's maximum force capacity. This translates to an improved feeling of well-being in addition to tangible performance-based results such as process optimization and productivity gains.