NANAIMO, BC —
Carrying out inspections of hazardous confined spaces underwater is a highly specialized field that requires advanced technology and experienced staff to remain at the forefront of industry best practices.
So when Pennsylvania’s VideoRay aimed not only to see underwater, but also to grip, cut, sample and clamp, it turned to Inuktun to develop a new-generation manipulator arm that would set it apart from its competition.
VideoRay Marketing Manager Brian Luzzi is a fan: “along with its ability to perform its various functions, one of the best things for us is its ease of use. We love how simple it is to take on and off the skids, and how easy it is to change to tools. It fits in perfectly with our marketing agenda of being able to deploy quickly and make efficient changes in the field.”
Developing the manipulator arm was one of the last projects Inuktun co-founder Al Robinson worked on before his retirement in 2014. Addressing VideoRay’s requirements, Robinson built a unique two-function manipulator that features a closing force of 2.3 kg (5 lb), allowing it to retrieve objects up to 45 kg (100 lb), and infinite rotation.
The powerful deep sea gripper is pressure compensated for extreme depths up to 5,000 m (16,400 ft), and can employ any of up to five tools, including parallel jaws, a cutter, a sampler, a V-Jaw, or a trident.
So far, the search and rescue, military and law enforcement sectors have generated the most demand for the manipulator, according to Luzzi. “Our sales guys love it,” he said. “It’s an easy sell. The sampler tool is generating a lot of interest for law enforcement — and the cutter is a beast.”
VideoRay calls the manipulator arm “one of the most useful tools in the VideoRay toolbox… As soon as you use it, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.”