After Ford employees successfully tested Ekso Bionics’ strength-enhancing mechanical exoskeletons over the past year, the motor company is buying 75 suits for workers in 15 factories.
After Ford announced its plans, Ekso’s stock shot up more than 28%.
Not super strong, but super safe
Ekso Bionics operates a ‘Health’ division for spinal rehabilitation and a ‘Works’ division for industrial applications like the Ford factory.
Ford began testing Ekso’s suits not to help employees lift more, but to help them get injured less (the suits provide just 15 lbs of lift assistance to each arm).
The suits, which fit workers between 5’2’’ and 6’4’’ and sell for $6.5k, reduce shoulder strain for workers continually working overhead. And, turns out, that extra support goes a long way — in the yearlong trial, Ekso suits helped reduce workplace injuries by 83% at Ford.
But Ford isn’t the only company getting a lift…
The stock lift from Ford’s purchase is a big win for a company that raised just $14.1m before going public in 2014 (Ekso has still only raised $70.8m to date).
As companies continue to try to reduce the $21B spent annually on workplace injuries, demand for industrial exoskeletons continues to increase. Costco, Lowes, Boeing, Siemens, and Panasonic have all tested similar suits.
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