Currys has splashed out more than £250,000 on a suite of robotic exoskeleton suits to help prevent muscle injuries for warehouse staff handling heavy loads.

Staff wearing robotic suits at Currys Newark warehouse

The robotic exoskeleton is said to provide at least 10 tonnes of relief over the course of a working shift

The suits, which are worn like small backpacks, are being introduced at Curry’s Newark distribution site to help colleagues from logistics partner GXO carry out their physical day-to-day tasks safely and efficiently over the busy festive period, the electronic retailer said.

Made with ultra-light carbon fibre, the waterproof exoskeleton is said to provide at least 10 tonnes of relief over the course of a typical working shift, as well as up to 30kg of assistance to the lower back per lift.

It also incorporates the AI-based Smart Safety Companion ergonomics early-warning system to alert the user to signs of poor posture and incorrect lifting practices in real time, which can help prevent injuries in a manual handling environment.

Currys said its Newark distribution site is poised to help deliver 8.7 million units of stock to all 309 of its stores over the Black Friday period.

Lindsay Haselhurst, Currys chief operating officer, described the physical and mental wellbeing of colleagues and service partners as “really important to us”.

“As the number one technology retailer in the UK, we aim to have state-of-the-art tech throughout our supply chain,” she said.

“Combining this with our priority to support our colleagues is why we have invested in these exoskeletons at our Newark distribution centre.”

Gavin Williams, GXO managing director for the UK and Ireland, said: “We’ve successfully deployed robotic suits in several warehouses across GXO’s global network and are excited to make this technology available to our team in the Newark site, thanks to Currys’ significant investment.

“This is a testament to our joint commitment to provide a safe and fulfilling working environment for our employees while unlocking efficiencies and delivering substantial savings for our customers.”

The suit, called the Cray X, is produced and developed by German Bionic. 

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