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OC Robotics to Build Dual Snake Arm Robot Demonstrator for Working in Confined Spaces

OC Robotics has signed a new contract with Sellafied Ltd to provide a snake arm robot capability demonstration. This will include two snake arms deployed using the OC Robotics’ Rail&Rotate platform. The two will be variants of the OC Robotics Explorer Range. Each arm will have 22° of freedom, will measure 2.5m long and 100mm in diameter, and will be remotely operated by joystick.

Rob Buckingham, managing director at OC Robotics said that previously they had built bespoke snake-arm solutions for very specific problems. The objective with this work is to demonstrate that snake-arm robots can become a generic, modular tool for a wide range of decommissioning tasks.

Initial concepts: snake-arm reaching into cell (Top Left), cell mockup (Bottom Left), wrist and gripper (Top Right), gripper holding swabbing tool (Centre Right), gripper holding inspection camera (Bottom Right).

The first snake-arm will deploy an OC Robotics 3 DoF wrist and gripper. The wrist and gripper will contain a navigation camera and variable lighting, as well as acting as a quick change tool interface with capability to carry electric and pneumatic tools with services fed through the centre of the snake-arm. A custom inspection camera, a swabbing tool, a representative radiological probe, and sampling scoops will all be demonstrated.

The second snake-arm will have a high-pressure water-jetting tool integrated into it. The tool is being supplied by Sellafield Ltd and is of a type currently used for decontamination tasks on their site. This will be an example of how snake-arm robots can be used as a transport mechanism for existing tooling within confined hazardous spaces.

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