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Willmott Dixon to trial new exoskeleton vest on construction site

One of the largest construction companies in the United Kingdom, Willmott Dixon, has joined forces with Eksobionics to try out a new high-tech exoskeleton vest on site.

The exoskeleton vest is designed to support the arms when lifting and could provide benefits to construction workers.

The technology will be used on a new school development in Cardiff to help protect those working onsite. The new special vest is called Eksovest and Willmott Dixon will have the honour of being the first company in the construction industry to trial the product.

Wilmott Dixon's Eureka central research and development fund has been used to fund the vest being used on the Cardiff West Community high school site.

It costs approximately £5,650, and the success of the trial will determine whether the company will use Eksovest on other sites across the country before introducing it as standard.

The Cardiff West Community High School being built will help people in the local area by providing 1,200 secondary school students with a new school as well as a new home for more than 300 sixth formers. The £31m project has also been bestowed the much wanted “Ultra Site” status from the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS).

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The range of technical activities required to complete the build was the reason the site was chosen to be a guinea pig for this newly developed technology. The managing director for Willmot Dixon Wales and South West, Neal Stephens, said that innovation is in the company's DNA and that this technology could revolutionise the ability to lift items and perform repetitive overhead tasks.

He also added that the well-being of their employees and supply chain is their number one priority and the more they can use technology to ensure that this value is realised the better.

Stephens went on to speak about what to expect from the vest, and how teams on the site will feel less tired, meaning they will have some extra energy to work, become more productive and see an improvement in well-being.

Finally, Stephens spoke about how the investment into Eksovest shows how the newly created Eureka fund is supporting technology and innovation that will drive change in the construction industry into the 21st century.

The Eksovest is still in its trial phase so talk of it changing everything is premature, but if it does what it's expected to do at the site in Cardiff then it may indeed be a catalyst for change.

Specialists in Construction Insurance


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