A 3D printed glove to prevent musculoskeletal disorders

Engineers from car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover developed a lightweight, 3D printed glove that could help prevent employees from getting musculoskeletal disorders.

Musculoskeletal disorders include more than 100 different types of conditions. They make up around 30 per cent of all workplace injuries that result in time off and account for a third of all compensation payments to employees. 10 per cent of the global population suffers from musculoskeletal disorders, rising to as much as 40 per cent in certain industries.

The 3D glove is especially designed for employees working in Jaguar’s production line, like people that fit clips or fasteners into the chassis during assembly of the vehicles.

The glove consists of a 3D printed lattice-style structure that provides support to the palm and thumb, reducing muscle fatigue. The material is flexible and comfortable enough to wear during eight hour shifts.

Using 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software, the Jaguar Land Rover team modelled designs in different densities using a variety of materials for testing. The glove was printed using thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), ULTRASINT, a new material, ideal for flexible parts, developed by BASF for HP’s solution.

Based on feedback from trials, the team is currently working on a second generation prototype, which will include a foam pad made using impact additive D30, a polymer material that absorbs impacts when placed under pressure. This will make the glove suitable for those who fit parts, such as door casings, using the palm of the hand.

Photo: Jaguar Land Rover