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Advanced firefighting robot on display at conference in Australia

10 September 2018

A Chinese-built firefighting robot was presented to Australian emergency services professionals in early September. The CITIC Heavy Industries RXR-MC80JD is a tracked robot designed to conduct reconnaissance and fight fires in extreme situations and hazardous areas. The company developed the robot after the Tianjin disaster in 2015, where explosions at a chemical depot killed 175 and injured a further 900.

RXR-MC80JD in action - Image: CITIC Heavy Industries
RXR-MC80JD in action - Image: CITIC Heavy Industries

The robot was shown at the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC) conference, the largest of its kind in Australasia, which aims to bring together the latest in emergency response knowledge and research from Australia and the world.

"Currently at the conference we are receiving a lot of interest from Australian state fire services, as well as from Australian distributors of firefighting equipment," Edward Wang from Engytech, CITIC's Australian distributor, told Xinhua.

The RXR-MC80JD is not designed to replace human firefighters but to assist them by scouting out an incident and providing remote fire extinguishing capabilities.

Wang told ABC that at Tianjin many firefighters and emergency services personnel tackled the blaze at the chemical depot without full knowledge of the situation on the ground and with inadequate equipment. The robot is designed to operate in similar situations where firefighters could be at risk if they got too close to the incident.

About 1,000 of the robots are already deployed around China.

The battery-operated tracked robot weighs 520 kilos. The company says it is optimised for operations in potentially explosive environments such as the petrochemicals, refining, oil and gas, chemicals storage and similar sectors. 

The CITIC website gives the following information about the RXR-MC80JD:
*Explosion-proof certified and waterproof up to IP65;
*Track surface covered with heat tolerant, flame retardant rubber with internal metal frame;
*Able to drag two 60m length fire hoses filled with water;
*High temperature tolerance, automatic sprinkling cooling system and double water curtain;
*Multiple spraying modes and easy switch between water and foam;
*High-definition wireless image transmission system giving remote real-time video surveillance;
*Advanced wireless communication technology, with long communication distance and anti-interference capability;
*Obstacle-crossing ability, high manoeuverability and impact resistance;
*Integrated gas detection devices.

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