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Technology Factsheet


Category: Robotics > Dismantling and Retrieval > Snake
Reference # : Model No :

LaserSnake2 is a collaborative R&D project running from 2013 to 2016, combining robots and lasers to create safe, cost efficient tools for high-hazard confined spaces.

Driven by wire ropes and controlled by OC Robotics’ proprietary software, LaserSnake2 is able to traverse cluttered environments and conduct activities such as inspection, fastening and cleaning when integrated with off-the-shelf or custom-designed tools.

The lasers are delivered through small diameter optical fibres so the laser cutting is highly suitable for remote deployment via different kinds of robotic manipulators. During decommissioning work, the high value laser source can be positioned well away from any active area and because it is relatively small in size, it can be used in difficult locations.




The process of widening access routes, or selectively moving sections of highly contaminated material, is ideally suited to remote handling technology.

The results of this research include fibre-delivered laser cutting techniques and integration with a dexterous snake-arm robot. Coupled with novel laser process head design and diffractive optical elements, the result is an integrated system capable of cutting up to 100 mm thick C-Mn steel plate at significant stand-off distances, encompassing the range of infrastructure found in a typical nuclear plant.

Two options have been considered for deployment of the laser cutting tool. The first is focused on a fixed installation using a standard industrial robot. The second is a large, highly flexible snake-arm robot capable of entering cluttered cells through existing penetrations. Designed to operate through a standard 11” MSM port, the 4.5 m snake-arm robot has the capacity to carry grippers, sensors or the laser cutting tool at the tip. The snake-arm is sealed and housed within a glove box for contamination control, allowing operation within a radioactive environment.



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