The competition for bright minds, young talent and skilled workers has also arrived in industry and automation. Discover how Eichenberger cold-formed ballscrews generate special superpowers so that women are able to compete and impress in a typical male domain - where muscle power and endurance are often required. The thread specialist from Switzerland is constantly surprising with innovative developments that enable completely new types of drive solutions. In the Ironhand®, for example, five application-optimised screw drives impart enormous gripping power to a special glove.
Gender equality in the workplace takes time – meanwhile, a Swiss thread specialist is balancing the grip between men and women
A lot has happened in the world of work in the past few decades, yet women and men are still far from being on an equal footing. Today's challenges are focused on work-life balance, equal pay, unpaid work, equal opportunities in leadership positions and a gender-neutral profession. Promoting equal opportunities means breaking down existing barriers and developing support mechanisms. In order to attract young women and men to industrial professions, modern companies are critically examining their attitudes towards gender stereotypes.
People showing interest in a profession should not be put off by role models
There are still fields of work that are considered "typically" female or male, although it has long been known that technical competence has nothing to do with gender. However, clearly, it is often heavy, physical demands that are the reason for gender-specific selection in certain professions.
Likewise, gender-atypical career choices often still mean swimming against the tide and anyone who wants to learn such kind of occupation needs to be very self-confident. Fortunately, some young women and men together with companies such as Eichenberger Gewinde AG, from Burg / CH, have already proven that it works. In any case, it needs the openness of all players and the sensitivity of society to the scope of the term equality.
Women on construction sites – more strength in their hands thanks to ballscrews from Eichenberger Gewinde AG
Of course, when it comes to equal rights, there is still a lot of reform needed. However, the Swiss thread specialist Eichenberger is already helping to balance the grip strength between men and women. In many industries, advanced mechanisation and digitalisation are making it possible for modern machines to carry out physically difficult work and relieve the burden. The Ironhand® robotic glove is no exception. Quiet, slim and extremely resilient ballscrews completely eliminate the disadvantage of the anatomically determined difference in the strength of women.
Tailor-made for maximum precision and efficiency
Ironhand® reinforces the human grip using patented SEM™ technology. Ironhand® functions in a similar way to our own hands. A handgrip is normally initiated by the muscles of the forearm and hand. These muscles pull the tendons extending from the five fingers. Ironhand® works the same way: the pressure-sensitive sensors in the fingertips of the glove detect when the user grasps an object and a microcomputer calculates the required power. Servomotors drive the five filigree, robust cold-rolled 5 x 2 mm ball screws (Ø 5 mm, pitch 2 mm) which are attached to the glove by thin wires. The fine connections move the fingers and the additional force is generated by the slim glove. The higher the pressure on the sensors, the more power the glove delivers. Ironhand® thus recognises how the user grips an object and intuitively and automatically adjusts the gripping movement.
Five Swiss heroes for woman-power
The glove is available in four different sizes and can be worn by left- and right-handers. The battery pack, which is worn like a backpack, contains both a computer unit and the ballscrews with the motor that give life to the individual finger joints. It is the five ballscrews that convert the rotary motion of the small servo motors into a clean linear movement. The impressive efficiency of over 94 % ensures optimum drive performance.
A small installation space often poses a challenge with high loads. Noiseless motion in the smallest space is required. This is precisely how the Swedish manufacturer Bioservo Technologies describes the requirements for the ballscrews that embody the mechanical drive elements of the Ironhand fingers. High positioning accuracies with the smallest strokes and high dynamics in continuous operation have to be mastered without compromising safety and reliability. The maintenance intervals, service life and naturally, costs, all play a major role.
Products comparable in dimension or quality perform better than expected at Eichenberger Gewinde AG. Through individual design or special manufacturing processes, the thread professional adapts its products to the application and makes the impossible possible. In this way, products are created that bring the customer's innovations to the forefront of the market. The cold-formed, inductively hardened Ironhand® ballscrews, 5 x 2 mm in size, combine speed, precision and minimal space requirements. In addition, the ideal lead ratio of the spindle reinforces the efficiency of the movement. The "five Swiss heroes", each with three ingenious single-gear returns built into the nut, are also amazingly lightweight and increase the cost-effectiveness of the overall solution.
Women and technology go together – ballscrews make it easy
Ironhand® mimics the grip movements of the user, adding strength and endurance. This extra power takes the strain off the muscles and conserves workers' energy, improving productivity and well-being at the end of a shift.
For example, a woman can effortlessly perform intense, highly repetitive and / or static work with this "magic hand". The robotic glove has already been tested in various industries. For instance, in the handling sector, where cables are stripped, crimped or cut manually with pliers, Ironhand® helps the operator by reducing her workload. It assists when objects have to be held for a long time, such as during glass installations. When handling heavy equipment on construction sites, including grinders, screwdrivers or even jackhammer machines, Ironhand® provides unique strength, giving the operator the power she needs. Woman-power when cutting metal with angle grinders or when unloading and loading parts from cardboard in logistics - the fields of application are manifold. The Ironhand handle reinforcement makes it possible for women to master all these jobs well too.
Users can pre-set different programmes. The Eichenberger ballscrews move the fingers with extreme precision and position accuracy. Ironhand® distinguishes between the combinations of sensor sensitivity, force, finger symmetry and latching tendency. To change the profiles, all you have to do is press a button on the remote control mounted in the chest area. Using these settings, it is possible to react flexibly to different demands in the course of a working day, such as when less strenuous tasks are carried out in the morning and more physically demanding tasks are carried out in the afternoon. This also means that different users can work with one system. The system can provide a maximum of 80 N of grip force within milliseconds.
Powerful grip on highly repetitive tasks
One step ahead with the right technology partner
Eichenberger Gewinde AG ventures into the world of exotic materials, thread forms or dimensions that lie outside the norm. Unusual geometries, custom interfaces, special materials and hardening processes offer impressive extras. The company manufactures necessary tools in-house. In this way, the thread specialist guarantees a short time-to-market for application-optimised high-precision and cost-effective products.
Thomas Haller, Head of Sales
With great passion for the perfect motion, Eichenberger Gewinde AG brings this magic hand to life. In collaboration with Bioservo Technologies, Eichenberger developed the perfect screw drive solution for this. Bioservo is a world leader in the field of soft exoskeleton and motor support, focusing on the hand and extremities of the upper body. Mr. Martin Remning Wahlstedt, Development Director Bioservo Technologies, is enthusiastic about the thread professional from Switzerland: "At the heart of the Ironhand® kit are five electrically driven, cold-rolled ballscrews. They convert the rotary motion of the small motors into a linear motion and ensure what for us was a surprisingly good drive performance. Thanks to these fine, lightweight yet very reliable and accurate drive components, we were able to develop an efficient, comfortable-to-carry control unit that fits perfectly in the backpack.
What makes the Carry ballscrew drive such a resilient and ideal functional element?
Thread rolling produces very precise geometries with high surface quality. Typical thread manufacturing processes such as grinding, turning or whirling involve machine cutting the material, with the disadvantage of interrupting the grain of the steel. However, thread rolling diverts the longitudinal fibres rather than using cutting, and the surface profile hardens at the same time. This "smooth rolled surface" offers little opportunity for dirt to attack. This is crucial for a long service life and also decisive for the quiet rolling of the balls. Cold forming also results in very good roughness values (~ Rz 1.0) on the thread flanks and in the base radius.