European experts create an autonomous robot to dismantle asbestos structures

  • Bots2Rec uses mechanical arms with abrasive and vacuum tools to increase safety.

  • The solution will reduce staff costs in asbestos dismantling by 50%.

  • Eurecat technology centre participates in this international project that will speed up the dismantling of the toxic product.

 

Barcelona, 25 July de 2018.-  A team of experts in the field of robotics, including specialists from Eurecat technology centre in Barcelona, are designing an autonomous robotic solution to dismantle asbestos structures in an agile and safe way, which will reduce consumption and time spent in the process and minimize human exposure to this building material, still present today in many old buildings throughout Europe, despite being prohibited as it is considered toxic.

The project, called Bots2Rec, has already built a first prototype of an autonomous robot designed to be programmed in a few steps. Its operation is based on multiple robotic units comprising mechanical arms equipped with abrasive and suction tools to independently remove asbestos.

Bots2Rec robots will feature radars to be able to navigate in an environment with a high concentration of particles and optical sensors that will be able to generate a detailed 3D image of the building in which they work. This technology “allows the machine to be controlled remotely and autonomously, which avoids human exposure to the material”, as explains Pepa Sedó, head of Eurecat’s Robotics unit. In this regard, she specifies, “the technology centre brings to the project its experience in process control systems, which make it possible to integrate the machine with the control software”.

Bots2Rec plans to develop two prototypes, the first of which is already integrated and operational at Eurecat’s facilities in Cerdanyola, near Barcelona. The second will be available in September and could reach the market within three years.

According to Sedó, the current dismantling processes “must be done manually and is regulated by a very strict safety protocol”, which “slows down the process and makes it more expensive”. In order to avoid these inconveniences, Bots2Rec’s robotic solutions will “speed up the entire process” and “reduce economic expenditure on personnel by up to 50 percent”, as pointed out by Daniel Martín, technician of the project.

The project involves seven European partners in the field of advanced research and has received funding from the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme.