There are many types of telemanipulators (or manipulators) designed for a wide variety of working environments and usages. These manipulators come in various sizes, as do hot cells where they are used. Choosing the correct model is important, but equally important is determining the correct configurations for the area where it will be used.
When it comes time to specify a physical size requirement for a manipulator in your hot cell, there are several important considerations to factor in:
1. Hot Cell Size
A manipulator needs to be large enough to cover the space available, but no larger. Manipulator arms have a minimum length (or collapse length); if you have a manipulator that is too large, there will be areas of your hot cell you cannot reach. Both the width and depth of your cell should be factored in when selecting your manipulator.
2. Installation Space
Installation space is an often overlooked factor. One-piece manipulators (most common in radiopharma applications) need to have the remote arm fully extended for installation and maintenance. A space greater than the remote arm length, plus the length of the center tube that goes through the wall will be needed for installation. It is best to determine minimum and maximum remote arm lengths for a manipulator early on in the design cycle.
3. Wall Thickness
Wall thickness is critical; in addition to providing protection from radioactive environments, the wall needs to be able to support the weight of the manipulators and provide for mounting the manipulator and remote arm booting (if used). This will also be an important factor for the thru-tube dimensions needed in your hot cell.
If you have questions about configuring a manipulator for your hot cell, contact our experts. We’re happy to help work with you to select the proper manipulator size and options for your cell and application. The manipulator specification worksheet below can also be found in our Visual Selection Guide.