Hazardous device utility tools - bomb disposal

Award Year 

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has a great deal of experience safely dismantling dangerous and explosive devices. In answer to requests from Navy emergency response teams, Tim Irwin and Manny Martinez of LANL's Threat Reduction Science and Engineering Group (IAT-3) designed and developed a suite of tools to handle and manipulate bombs and other dangerous devices. These Hazardous Device Utility Tools are unique because they allow emergency response personnel to work on hazardous equipment or explosive devices from a safe distance. (more)

To this day, most bomb disposal units are required to come in close contact with the device if they choose not to destroy or detonate it. This choice is often made to preserve the device for further study of its origins and technology; however, it poses a significant problem for both military and civilian emergency personnel. Because of LANL's history safely dismantling dangerous devices, the Navy requested its assistance with designing a tool that could be used in the field. The IAT-3 team created the Hazardous Device Utility Tools with such features as multiple heads that allow for cutting, manipulating, assembling, and disassembling operations on equipment where a standoff (up to 48 inches) is required because of contamination, explosive danger, or confined space hazards. The adjustable heads are designed to be operated from behind a safety barrier, with access to the hazardous device through spaces approximately one inch wide. Multiple shaft extensions allow for greater reach and flexibility. These tools are designed with the highest quality materials to withstand the most difficult and challenging environments. The prototypes were built by RockSmith Precision Machining, Inc. (RockSmith), a company based in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Dr. Robert Dye, a LANL technology transfer licensing executive, was contacted by LANL's Threat Reduction Science and Engineering Group to assist with transfering the technology developed by IAT-3 and built by RockSmith. The market was such that a copyright was identified as the most beneficial method for protecting the intellectual property. The Department of Energy granted the copyright, and in February 2012 RockSmith became the licensee of the Hazardous Device Utility Tools developed by LANL. RockSmith has worked within the government system to effectively commercialize its product. The company received U.S. Department of State Commodity Jurisdiction Final Determinations. It has also recently sold systems to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and explosive ordinance device (EOD) disposal groups.