In response to the worst nuclear accident in Japan’s history, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd has developed the world’s first radiation-shielded forklift truck cabin.
Under its protection, operators will be able to dispose of contaminated rubble much more quickly. To date, the clearance has been a slow process involving unmanned, radio-controlled heavy equipment.
The cabin has been fitted to the Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks FD150N 15 tonne diesel counterbalance (part of the FD80-160N series). Initially two trucks are to be supplied for use at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Constructed using 100 mm thick steel plates and 230 mm thick lead glass, the air-conditioned cabin is equipped with special filters to remove dust and other contamination. It is also pressurised to prevent external air from entering.
Various specialist attachments will be supplied for maximum efficiency in loading the hazardous material into waste transfer containers.
In developing this solution, MHI has called upon its expertise in such diverse technologies as vehicle systems, filtering, heavy plate welding and radiation shielding.
The company has continued to provide relief in various ways, following the earthquake disaster, by dispatching expert engineers, helicopters, airplanes, equipment and emergency supplies to affected areas.