Chernobyl Robots (Part-2)

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German MF-3


In fact, stories about the Chernobyl liquidators after 34 years in the masses and in the media often like to embellish, confuse and attribute to them outstanding deeds. Since our organization employs people who are dedicated to their work, then all the content is carefully selected. We collect all information from primary sources, from the stories of eyewitnesses or direct participants in those events so that anyone who wants to know the Chernobyl history can easily get acquainted with it.

In the second part of the story about Chernobyl robots, we will talk about another German who was captured by the Soviet Union. Captive of lies and high radiation fields in which he had to work. MF-3 manufactured by Blocher-Motor GmbH & Co. KG, Metzingen, West Germany CMS Technologies, like its fellow countryman MF-2 Joker, took part in cleaning the roof of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Unlike the Joker, the MF-3 had smaller dimensions, less weight and was much more agile. This unit is a 4-tracked vehicle with remote control. The robot itself was intended for use in the nuclear industry and other hazardous environments. It was originally conceived and developed in 1976 by the KFA Julich research laboratory in West Germany. The robot was equipped with only one, but a light paw manipulator with an electric drive. The lack of low payload with a paw of only 20 kg was compensated by the fact that quite delicate work could be carried out with the help of this paw. The load capacity of the apparatus itself was 80 kg. The basis, as in the Joker, was taken by a small-sized, but more lightweight tracked chassis. MF-3, due to its independent suspension, could climb inclined surfaces with a slope of up to 45 degrees, which enabled it to independently climb stairs and reach the desired mark, turn around at a small radius of 1200 mm, overcome obstacles and blockages 600 mm high and overcome dips 1 m wide. Its maximum speed is 30 m / min. Additional accessories in the kit of such a handsome man included video cameras, a television monitor on the control panel, headlights, a sound transmission system or, more simply, a microphone, an x-ray machine with a mounting bracket and alternative captures. This electronic liquidator was controlled remotely through a cable from a portable control panel located at a distance of 100 m. Unlike the large Joker, the MF-3 weighed with attachments about 500 kg with a rather modest size: 2264 (D) x 720 (V) x 400 mm (W). Since almost all the equipment was mounted, it was powered by on-board sockets. In addition to the model that worked with the cable, that is, from the network, an alternative model was created that could work remotely using the remote control on the radio. In this case, the robot was powered by 4 12 V modular batteries.

Due to the high levels of radiation in the areas where this robot was supposed to work, in the USSR it was decided to purchase the robot on cable control. Almost all the equipment that worked on the radio remote control was out of order due to the fact that the powerful alpha radiation flux in the area where the equipment was working disabled all the electronics and created huge noise for the signal. But as in the story with the Joker, the MF-3 was also ineffective. Despite such advantages as mobility, compactness and low weight, the robot did not stay on the roof of the Chernobyl NPP for long. Due to the short control cable, which was only 100 m long, the operator would have to work at high levels of radiation, which would make the German work doubly useless. Cable control of robots was extremely inconvenient in a situation when on the roofs where the equipment worked there was a huge amount of different debris. Because of this, the cable often received damage on sharp objects or simply simply got confused. With that amount of debris on the roof, the MF-3 was found to be ineffective because it could only carry light weight and not quickly.

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