by • July 18, 2016 • No Comments
A power station in the UK county of Oxfordshire was demolished on July 17. Large-scale demolitions aren’t odd, but this particular event was a little unorthodox. Following the tragic death of four workers on the site earlier this year, the location was deemed too dangerous for the project to go on as normal, leading the team to turn to a series of robotic workers to get the job done.
The tragic chance occurred in February this year, when the power station boiler house, which was being created for demolition, partially collapsed. In light of the obvious and immediate danger, the site was evacuated, and a 50 m (160 ft) exclusion zone set up. With such a serious risk to human life, the project was put on hold while the team worked out how to proceed.
Over the next months, a complicated plan was invented to safely demolish the boiler house, via a series of robots ranging of additional compact machines weighing a few 40 kg (88 lbs), all the way up to systems which tip the scales at several tons.
Two robots of Irish company Reamda, known as the Robot Reacher and R-Evolve, were initially utilized to survey the site, bringing photographs and video footage, and via a 3D laser scanner to study the structure’s six assist columns. From which data, another company, Alford Technologies, was able-bodied to turn it into replicas of the columns, which were and so utilized to test out the plan in advance of the actual operation
Once the main operation was underway, a series of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) were utilized to place three various types of explosive: a C-shaped charge created to fit around sure girders, a cutting charge created to sever columns, and a kicking charge to shift the structure in the desired way.
According to the company, the Reacher is the initially ROV in the industry which packs a sliding turret create, which allows for the robot to be additional precise than other hardware. That precision allowed the robot to place the magnetically mounted charges at the precise angles required for the operation.
First the machine moved the charges into the correct orientation, preceding extending its turret section towards the column, placing the charge in the required position. Getting the charges right on the initially take on was significant, as the sturdy magnets which hold them in place manufacture it complex to reposition without cavia injure to the device.
The C-shaped girder charges were placed up high, and required two ROVs to work together. The UK’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) supplied two remotely operated diggers and strapped Reamda’s R-Evolve ROVs into the shovel sections. The diggers lifted the R-Evolves up, and Reamda’s machines placed the charges with its manipulator arm. The task was created simpler by the multiple camera views provided by other ROVs working on the project, which were positioned to provide the R-Evolve operator with the most possible situational awareness.
Elsewhere, other ROVs, created by a Swedish company called Brokk, were utilized to place the heavy kicking charges. Those systems don’t have cameras created in, meaning which video feeds of other robots in the field again had to be utilized to guide operators.
The robotic-assiste demolition went off without any leading issues, with the boiler house coming down at around 6 AM local time on Sunday July 17.
A few minor hiccups did occur, which include a piece of debris landing on the R-Evolve, hitting the robot’s emergency stop switch. One of the other ROVs was able-bodied to come to the rescue, switching the other machine back on.
None of the robots encountered problems any additional serious than which, which is a great thing, as the dangerous environment of the project intended which guide recovery was not an version.
With the demolition now achieve, the area has been deemed safe, and the search has now resumed for the remains of the four workers who lost their lives in February.
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