A UK tech company has unveiled a new remotely-operated robot capable of rapidly disinfecting vast areas – both inside and outside.
Forth Engineering in Cumbria has designed the remotely-operated robot, armed with a large vapour cannon, to help the UK navigate a safe route back from lockdown.
Forth is known for its innovations to solve complex industry challenges globally in the nuclear, oil and gas, renewables and other sectors.
Managing Director Mark Telford and members of the Forth team gave a special demonstration of the disinfecting robot in London last week.
The robot is able to be worked remotely, controlled from a safe distance, to disinfect any area – inside or outside.
“It can be used in offices, warehouses, transport hubs, schools, shopping complexes, or on the streets … wherever it’s required,” said Mr Telford.
“It can be deployed in any building or any area, before people return after lockdown to make sure the space they are going back to is safe to use,” he said.
The robot can be regularly re-used to decontaminate areas – either once a week or several times a day.
The tracked robot, which was developed in a matter of weeks, carries a vapour cannon, camera and lights.
“It’s an amazing bit of kit. I took it to one of our sites and it disinfected 68,000 square feet (nearly 21,000 sqm) in just 20 minutes.”
Forth has gained a reputation for creating robots that save lives by carrying out hazardous tasks, helping people to avoid dangerous areas.
Forth’s head of special projects Ben Telford and project engineer James Trythall were brought back from leave to work on new products in the fight against coronavirus.
The new disinfecting robot has now gone into production at Forth’s Maryport site with an order filled and several companies already expressing interest.
Radio-controlled, wireless and with no tether, the disinfecting robot can perform fogging or misting.
Ability to climb stairs
“It works in a similar way to a vapour cigarette in that it fires high pressure vapour which will settle in every part of a designated area,” said Mark.
It has the ability to climb flights of stairs and can disinfect large areas in a matter of minutes.
The technology can also be adapted for a range of other scenarios, such as being fitted with UV Light in fight against coronavirus.
“The way we like to work is that if people have a problem, we come up with solutions. That’s our skill-set. That’s what we do,” said Mr Telford.
Forth’s recent projects include working to develop a world-first Friction Stir Welding Robotic Crawler (FSWbot) for internal repair and refurbishment of pipelines which can be used by a range of industries without having to stop production.
It has also recently worked with partners on developing the pioneering Hullguard system of protecting floating offshore installations from corrosion without using divers. This has been successfully deployed for the first time in the UK North Sea.
Forth Engineering employs 54 people with bases at Maryport, Barrow, and Cleator Moor in Cumbria, UK.