Audi is testing a new technology that eases many assembly activities at its Neckarsulm plant: the so-called "chairless chair." The device's carbon-fiber construction allows employees to sit without a chair. At the same time, it improves their posture and reduces the strain on their legs.
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The chairless chair, which Audi has further developed together with a Swiss start‑up, is an exoskeleton that is worn on the back of the legs. It is fastened with belts to the hips, knees, and ankles. Two leather‑covered surfaces support the buttocks and thighs while two struts made of carbon‑fiber‑reinforced plastic (CFRP) adapt to the contours of the leg. They are jointed behind the knee and can be hydraulically adjusted to the wearer's body size and the desired sitting position. Body weight is transferred into the floor through these adjustable elements. The chairless chair itself weighs just 2.4 kilograms.
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While working, employees wear the chairless chair like a second pair of legs to provide support whenever needed. For many assembly operations, it allows employees to sit in an ergonomically favorable position instead of standing -- even with short working intervals. At the same time, this high‑tech supporting structure improves posture and reduces strain on the legs.
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