NIST logo

Bookmark and Share

Return to Oil Well Fire Fighting Page

Oil Well Fire Fighting RoboCrane 1/3rd scale working model. The 6 meter prototype included computer/joystick-controlled six degree-of-freedom platform motion carrying a chimney and heat-shield and 1000 Lbs. winches. The system was made of aluminum tubing (89 mm dia. x 6 mm thick), assembled with ball and sockets and demonstrated water cooling of the structure. The concept included driving the robot over the well, deploying the chimney over the well-head, and allowing workers access to the well-head to cap it while shielded from the heat with the heat-shield. Tracked vehicles could be remote-controlled M-1 tanks coordinated with sensor feedback from robot leg angles and vehicle rotation with respect to the leg, both input to the mobility controller. This system has 1 mm resolution/accuracy over an approximate 70 cu. m. work volume. Resolution is sufficient to allow tools, such as saws, grippers, grinders and welders, to be attached to the platform and controlled by a remote operator (i.e., away from the hazardous oil well fire). Therefore, once the chimney and heat shield are deployed, they can be tied off to the structure and the platform can control tools to assist workers in capping the well. Although conventional means were used to cap the Kuwaiti Oil Well Fires, the RoboCrane was presented to experts in this industry as an alternative or future concept.