repairs of the heavily-damaged nuclear reactors in Japan.
With a tight economy restraining building budgets, selective
demolition by this type of robot can gut the interior for
remodel while leaving the shell intact.
The use of concrete crushers instead of hammer breakers
allows them to be used within inhabited buildings without
disturbing the occupants. These mid-range machines costing
from $135k to $150k are quite versatile and agile. Brokk’s
smallest machine can even climb stairs. Many attachments
are available for all types of close-quarters operations. Newer
models have wireless Bluetooth RF links between the machine
and the operator.
In the beginning of industrial robots, there were fewer
applications and the robots being designed and
manufactured were more specific to a single job or operation.
The first designs used different end-effectors (arm/hand) for
different tasks. As potential applications grew in numbers and
more manufacturers entered the field, robots were being
developed that could do almost anything. I thought is was
interesting to highlight a few robots that were developed in
the, 70s but are still in operation today.
Many machines of today can be quickly modified for
emergency tasks such as the robots used in the oil spill or the
damaged nuclear reactors. Great designs — such as with the
two Mars rovers — can create robots that can operate far in
excess of their originally designed operating lives. SV
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