Congratulations to the complete build team for delivering the new RACE building on schedule and on budget! The facility will host the 80 strong RACE team (we are recruiting!) to deliver complete robotics and remote handling solutions for both nuclear and non-nuclear industries. The space is also available to 3rd parties under licence and our first licensee arrives in April 2016. The 3000 sqm facility consists of a large work hall with two 20tonne cranes with 12.5m under hook height. Thank you to our sponsors: BIS and OxLEP (via 2014 City Deal)
The RACE (Remote Applications in Challenging Environments) facility will capitalise on the remote handling systems developed at JET so customers can apply this knowledge to their own fields. It will give access to test facilities, robotic equipment and expertise to SMEs, multinationals, research laboratories and academia from areas such as space applications, deep sea exploration, fusion research and the advanced nuclear fission industry.
Greg Clark explained how RACE would fit in with this strategy: “Robotics is an emerging industry in which the UK has a solid foundation and can take the lead,” he said. “That is why we have identified robotics as one of our ‘eight great technologies’, and why we are committed to supporting the construction of world-leading facilities like RACE. Oxfordshire is a leading light in the robotics industry and this new centre will only go further to highlight the depth and breadth of scientific and research talent in the region.”
RACE’s Director, Dr Rob Buckingham said: “Robotic technology will be fundamental to the delivery of future nuclear power. In resolving the complex problems that fusion and fission power present we will be in a much better position to address commercial needs in other sectors, from mining to oil & gas extraction and processing, through to space exploration. We are also finding direct links with seemingly dissimilar subjects such as autonomous cars, which rely on advanced sensing and mapping technologies. It’s great to have the support of the Minister in this important emerging sector.”
During his visit the Minister was also given a tour of JET, including a demonstration of the JET remote handling systems by Chris Fowler (pictured below), who showed the Minister the advanced remote handling technology that allows operators to maintain and upgrade JET without the need to send people into the device.