Lifting aids

Nearly all physical tasks in manufacturing involve gripping, lifting and carrying loads. These are often key tasks in logistics and services, e.g. palletizing, order-picking and sorting. Since each movement is different and requires man’s ability to plan it, these processes are difficult or even impossible to automate. Lifting aids worn on the body offer physical support, conserving a worker’s energy and preventing musculoskeletal disorders. Fraunhofer IPA is involved in several research projects and offers targeted competent advice on the development, construction and use of such lifting aids.


  • Development of solutions for ergonomically-critical workplaces, taking all options into account, from fully-automated bin-picking solutions, through human-robot collaboration to wearable systems (exoskeletons)
  • Evaluation of the use of lifting aids in your production facility
  • Conceptual studies
  • Construction of prototypes to support human handling processes
  • Transfer of technologies and knowledge to manufacturers of lifting aids

Sample applications

  • Development of kinematics for physical assistance: wire-based kinematics, simulation and development of wearable robots to aid man without restricting his movements in any way
  • Development of a user interface for lifting aids: tactile sensors, torque measurement, admittance control for intuitively identifying user requests

Technical developments are being carefully examined by the end-users ALDI and DHL Hub Leipzig and field tests carried out to ensure suitability for use in real situations. The project is supported by the German professional associations for transport and traffic and also trade and goods distribution.

Current research projects

Fraunhofer flagship project “E³-Production”: assistive systems for industrial production (project term: 11/13 – 10/16)

BMBF joint project “Hebehilfe”: development, construction and verification of a lifting aid worn on the body to help workers to perform lifting tasks (project term: 9/13 – 8/16)

BMBF joint project “SensHand”: multimodal user interface for innovative manual lifting aids (project term: 1/15 – 12/17)

Fraunhofer E3 – Assistance Systems for Production


Lead project E³-Produktion

With its lead project E³-Produktion, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is striving to improve resource efficiency. This demands a paradigm shift from “maximum profit with minimal capital outlay” to production with “maximum added value and minimal resource consumption”.