Power Manipulators for Shielded Cells of Experimental and Demonstration Center of the Mining and Chemical Combine

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The power manipulators are designed for remote maintenance, mounting, dismantlement, transfer and repair of the process equipment in shielded cells. Unlike their foreign analogues, these power manipulators are made in compliance with 3N and 4N classes according to NP-016-05. The materials of the manipulators allow decontamination with acid and alkali solutions.

In 2018-2019, Sosny R&D Company developed and manufactured three models of manipulators for remote operations in the shielded cells with air atmosphere located in the Experimental and Demonstration Center (EDC)The power manipulators of different sizes were made for operation in the shielded cells of three EDC divisions:

  • Division for fuel assembly cutting and spent fuel voloxidation,
  • Division for handling spent fuel and radioactive waste, and
  • Division for vitrification of liquid high-level radwaste.


The power manipulator travels along the ceiling-mounted rails in the shielded cell moved by the bridge drive with double electric motors. An electromechanical hoist and a a trolley with a telescopic lift run along the rails on the girders of the bridge. The trolley is equipped with double drives. The lower part of the telescopic lift is equipped with an electromagnetic arm and a lifting hook. The telescopic lift is equipped with a locking system that prevents the segments from extending downwards by gravity and a reeving system for cable tensioning.

Bridge-Type Manipulator. 3D Model 

Bridge-Type Power Manipulator

The arm of the manipulator consists of a shoulder, a forearm, a wrist and a gripper. The arm has six electromechanical drives providing five degrees of freedom for the gripper and closing of the gripper jaws. The arm is rotated in the horizontal plane, lifted and lowered by the telescopic lift.

Manipulator Arm. 3D Model

The manipulator arm has the grippers of two types - a two-jaw and a three-jaw one. The gripper is attached with a bayonet lock, the design of which prevents spontaneous uncoupling.

Three-Jaw Gripper



Payload capacity of manipulator with the telescopic lift hook/electromechanical hoist  900 kg 
Payload capacity of the horizontally stretched arm  100 kg 
Stretched arm length  1575 mm 
Gripper rotation torque  min. 50 Nm 
Gripper rotation speed  min. 1.5 rpm 
Grip force  min. 1400 N 
Handled object diameter for three-jaw gripper  max. 130 mm
Jaw stroke of two-jaw gripper  min. 120 mm 



A power manipulator with a protective enclosure was designed and manufactured for maintenance of the fuel assembly cutting and fragmentation facility (GIT-1000) located in the highly radioactive shielded cell. The shielded cell does not have a scheduled maintenance shed for the manipulator, so the manipulator is kept in the protective enclosure with a slide gate during its idle time. The manipulator design enables to move the manipulator between the radioactive and non-radioactive zones to maintain and repair the equipment.

An independent bridge moves the manipulator on the railtrack along the cell. The bridge design contains no electric or electronic components with limited service life in radiation environment.


Manipulator with a Protective Enclosure. 3D Model


Manipulator with a Protective Enclosure


The manipulator is intended for the following operations:

  • loosen or tighten the fasteners with a nutrunner when mounting/dismantling the replaced components of the facility equipment,
  • replace the facility components,
  • handle SFA fragments, etc.

The end-effectors of the manipulator and the associated drives, including the bridge drive, are located on a rotary unit which is installed on the bridge and removed from the bridge with a dedicated lifting device installed inside the protective enclosure.

An electromechanical arm and a SFA fragment grapple are the end-effectors of the manipulator. The design of the arm is similar to that of the bridge-type manipulator and also allows using a two-jaw and a three-jaw grippers. The SFA fragment grapple is a caliper. It is moved vertically by a chain pusher. A mechanism for horizontal rotation of the arm is installed on the rotary unit. All drives of the rotary unit are double.

The grippers are changed remotely in the cell taken from a tool holder where the grippers are stored.



Payload capacity of SFA fragment grapple     700 kg 
 Payload capacity of the horizontally stretched arm    100 kg 
 Stretched arm length 1575 mm 
 Gripper rotation torque min. 50 Nm 
 Gripper rotation speed min. 1.5 rpm 
 Grip force min. 1400 N 
 Handled object diameter for three-jaw gripper max. 130 mm 
 Jaw stroke of two-jaw gripper min. 120 mm 
 Design service life 30 years 



Operating the Power Cutting Pliers

Additional electromechanical tools supplied with the power manipulators allow expanding their process capabilities. The electrical tools are connected to the power supply via electrical connectors by the arm. The tools are installed into the two-jaw gripper of the arm and are controlled from the manipulator control panel. Depending on the current operations, the manipulators can be equipped with an air wrench, cutting pliers, an angle grinder or other tools.

The manipulators were equipped with in-house tools highly competitive with their foreign analogues.

Using the the air wrench with a torque of up to 600 Nm, one can loosen or tighten the nuts up to M24 without translation of the torque load to the manipulator arm.

The power cutting pliers are intended for cutting wire, round-link chains, thin-wall tubes and cables up to 35 mm in diameter. The end-effector of the cutting pliers has a spring-loaded suspension to reduce the load on the manipulator arm.

The angle grinder can be used to condition surfaces, to cut tubes, bars and other metal structures. The angle grinder has smooth start and stop and a vibration absorbing system to decrease the load on the manipulator arm.

If needed, the power manipulator can be equipped with any other electromechanical tool, such as a recipro saw, a hand drilling hammer, etc. The additional tools are installed remotely with a special device which is the tool storage place at the same time.

Manipulators are controlled remotely from a control panel in an operator's room. The monitors of the control panel display the images from the TV cameras installed on the manipulator trolley and on the walls of the shielded cell.


Control Panel




Watch the video   (available in Russian)





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