Audi production lines testing use of medical gloves

(November 30, 2015) INGOLSTADT, Germany — Audi’s production division is improving ergonomics as well as health and safety in its factories. Employees at the plants in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Brussels and Győr are currently testing new medical gloves. These so-called production orthoses reduce pressure stress with many assembly tasks by more than 50 percent.

Audi plans to put the special glove into series application this year.

The employees in car-door assembly at Audi install approximately 300 trim strips per shift. This subjects the wrist and the ball of the hand in particular to increased stress. In order to reduce this stress, Audi has developed a joint-friendly orthosis together with Spörer AG, an Ingolstadt company that specializes in orthopedic technology.

When this special glove is used, the hand is subjected to less strain while retaining its tactile sense and maximum mobility.

“With the production orthoses, we are once again demonstrating that ergonomically designed workplaces have top priority at Audi. This helps us to keep our employees healthy and effective, and also enhances the feeling of well-being in our production areas,” stated Prof. Dr. Hubert Waltl, board of management member for Production at AUDI AG.

In developing the glove, Audi cooperated closely with its production workers. The interdisciplinary development team consisting of plant doctors and occupational safety specialists as well as planning and production staff regularly made use of employee feedback to adjust the glove perfectly to the requirements. The result is a breathable glove made of Teflon. In the area where pressure is exerted, it has a shock-absorbent lining that reduces the forces acting on the hand. A highly elastic fastener stabilizes the wrist.
At present, 1,000 Audi employees are testing the orthoses at the plants in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Brussels and Győr. The pilot project is part of the “Workplace of the Future” area of the company’s ergonomic strategy. At the end of this year, the production orthoses will be available for all assembly-line workers at the four Audi plants.