Ford Motor Co. workers use powered and unpowered exoskeletons at several plants to allow employees to more easily work on objects over their heads.
Photo credit: Ford Motor Co.

ASTM Intl.’s ergonomics subcommittee on exoskeleton and exosuits is seeking participants to support the drafting of a new standard for the use of digital human modeling (DHM).

The WK65347 draft standard aims to use DHM tools to understand the physiological and biomechanical effects of exoskeleton and exosuits on the human body resulting from collaborative work. The subcommittee is looking for DHM model builders and users to clarify modeling needs and application details and develop general standard guidelines to use DHM in exoskeleton design and evaluation.

ASTM task group leader Dr. Bochen Jia says DHM use will accelerate the pace of safe, ergonomic design of exoskeleton and exosuit technology and reduce manufacturing cost.

“Ideal exoskeleton and exosuit development would use digital modeling tools in addition to human-in-the-loop testing,” says Jia, associate professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering at University of Michigan – Dearborn. “This helps ensure the system is consistently considering the internal influence of force, torque, and pressure on the body of the user.”

In addition to new standards, the committee is developing 16 work items to address medical exoskeleton needs in risk assessment, hazard evaluation, safety, and mobility.

The exoskeleton and exosuits committee formed in 2017 to develop globally-relevant voluntary standards for exoskeletons. With a current roster of more than 200 members representing 17 countries, subcommittees address safety, quality, performance, ergonomics, and terminology for systems and components during the product’s full life cycle.

ASTM Int’l