Engineering firm converts 1.6t excavator into disaster rescue robot
By Neil Gerrard26 April 2023
Forth Engineering, based in Cumbria in the UK, has built a remote-controlled ‘rescue robot’ designed to be sent into disaster zones and controlled remotely.
The machine is based around a 1.6t JCB compactor excavator platform.
It is tetherless and can be controlled from a safe location up to 150 metres away.
It carries a 700bar rescue tool, a grapple hook to move obstructions, a hopper to disperse sand to contain spillages, and an affixative spraying system to contain a nuclear spillage.
The robot has already been trialled at Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria and Forth is now looking it rolling it out to other plants across the UK.
Mark Telford, Forth’s managing director, said: “The Rescue Robot is a pioneering development which has already been successfully tested in hazardous environments, and it has been manufactured to offer a safe, remotely operated alternative to sending humans into disaster zones.
“By working with Sellafield Ltd, we were able to prove the machine is able to withstand some particularly dangerous conditions, and its various adaptations and capabilities mean that this will be a real asset to the UK’s nuclear industry.
“There are endless amounts of modifications and end effectors which can be included on the robot, and we are excited to be able to provide a product which will make working in nuclear plants across the country much safer, while also saving industry a substantial amount of money.”
“Sellafield Ltd required the development of a 1.6 tonne robot, but we are able to adapt the product to any size and also fit it with any type of tools or end effectors to fit the nature of the project.
“What is extremely exciting to us is that it can also be adapted to work in any industry, and it is a real game changer in reaching some of the most dangerous environments found in sites across the UK.”