Canada’s SNC-Lavalin and Kinova have signed a two-year collaboration agreement to deploy robotic solutions in the nuclear sector.

The agreement builds on the existing relationship between the two companies, where in 2019 SNC-Lavalin engineers demonstrated how the Kinova Gen 3 collaborative robot arm could be deployed into an inactive glovebox and complete a range of activities to facilitate nuclear decommissioning.

SNC-Lavalin will become Kinova’s exclusive integrator for their collaborative robots into operational gloveboxes at selected nuclear licensed sites. The collaboration aligns with SNCL Engineering Services strategy and wider portfolio of nuclear decommissioning and waste management solutions.

SNC-Lavalin has fully integrated Kinova’s equipment into a certified, patent pending solution that enables safe deployment of the collaborative robot into almost any glovebox and other similar applications, the company said on 17 July. The solutions developed are expected to prove deployable in the thousands of nuclear gloveboxes around the world, increasing operator safety and with potential to improve productivity.

“Removing hands from gloveboxes is a key challenge for the nuclear industry and we’re proud to be helping drive change and improve safety, by integrating a solution from other industries to the nuclear industry,” said Sandy Taylor, President, Nuclear, SNC-Lavalin. “This work has the potential to reduce hand safety risks for manual workers on-site, as well as improving output and efficiency as we incorporate digital solutions and support remote working.”

“Empowering humans through the use of robotics has always been at the centre of Kinova’s philosophy; all workers should feel safe to carry out tasks in their work environment, above all in the nuclear and hazmat sectors,” said François Boucher, Executive Vice President, Kinova. “This nuclear glovebox solution demonstrates perfectly Kinova’s willingness to support, through strategic partnerships and collaborative efforts, global leaders like SNC-Lavalin and their Atkins business.”