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Sandia's Robots Pull Apart Warheads to Recycle Thousands of Micro-Grenades


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A bomb-recycling robot at work.

Sandia National Labs have developed robots that can demilitarize up to 21 warheads in an eight-hour shift.

Credit: Regina Valenzuela/Sandia

Researchers at Sandia National Labs have developed robots that can demilitarize up to 21 warheads in an eight-hour shift, which equates to 13,524 bomblets being recycled per day.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Defense opened a Multiple Launch Rocket System Recycle Facility, equipped with nine of Sandia's bomb-recycling robots.

The system is organized into nine "cells."

The first cell is the weapons disassembly system, where warheads are cut into separate foam pack sections. The foam packs, which are filled with grenades, are then delivered to cells two and three where the grenades are removed.

Next, individual grenades are delivered to cells four through nine where the fuses are detached, at which point the munitions have been disarmed.

The system is fully automated, and uses computer vision to detect anomalies, like grenades that are stuck together.

From IEEE Spectrum
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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