Exoskeletons towards industrie 4.0: Benefits and challenges of the IoT communication architecture
The volatility and flexibility of a production line in a smart factory demands for high dynamics during the assembly tasks and repetitive movements in an un-ergonomic body posture. Hence, the workers are exposed to the danger of developing work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Previous studies have reported that exoskeletons help to reduce fatigue and prevent injuries during lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, and overhead-positions tasks, improving productivity in manufacturing industry. However, no studies have reported the advantages of digital integration of an exoskeletons network in a smart factory. This paper gives an overview of benefits and challenges regarding the connectivity of exoskeletons within a smart factory. Moreover, it describes the communication architecture of a cyber-physical exoskeleton network. Finally, an experimental test of fog computing structure was conducted based on IoT messaging protocols, allowing real-time data analytics for benefits of the manufacturing process.