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A Robot That Disinfects Training Centres Is Put To Work in Cumbria

A leading training organisation is using a disinfecting robot to help prepare for the return of its students. In order to welcome back its staff and students safely at the beginning of March, Gen2 is using innovative technology to disinfect the workshop area and main atrium at its HQ and training centre in Cumbria, UK.

Forth developed a remotely-operated robot in Cumbria last year as a response to Covid-19. The firm is known for its innovations to solve complex industry challenges all over the world in nuclear, oil and gas, renewables and other sectors.

Nina Dixon, centre manager at Gen2’s head office and training centre at Workington, Cumbria, said the process would provide an extra safety measure for staff and students working on the site.

She said: “When Forth came to demonstrate the robot we were really impressed. It covers such a large amount of space in a relatively short period of time. The disinfecting of the workshop area and main atrium will enhance our current Covid-19 safety measures which are in place throughout the building, and provide extra peace of mind for our staff and students.”

Gen2 has worked closely with Forth over a number of years delivering apprenticeship programmes and training for the engineering firm, which is based in Maryport, Cleator Moor and Barrow in Cumbria. Nina said the organisation was pleased to be able to support and showcase innovations such as the disinfecting robot to demonstrate the world-first solutions developed in West Cumbria.

She said: “It’s great for the apprentices who are currently training with Gen2 to see the types of innovations which are taking place on their doorstep.”

Gen2 was established in 2000 as an employer-owned training provider in West Cumbria. Now part of the City and Guilds Group, it is one of the UK’s largest training providers to the nuclear sector, working with more than 300 employers to provide apprenticeships, further education, higher education and a wide range of specialist courses. Along with the head office and training centre at Lillyhall, Workington, the organisation has skills centres in Carlisle, Sellafield, Ulverston and at Energus, also at Lillyhall.

Forth disinfecting robot in Cumbria
Mark Telford, Forth’s managing director, with the company’s robot.

The robot’s development and creation

The Forth team developed the disinfecting robot in a matter of weeks by combining its tracked robot, vapour cannon, camera and lights. The robot is able to be worked remotely, controlled from a safe distance, to disinfect any area – inside or outside – to help the country safely emerge from lockdown. Radio-controlled, wireless and tetherless, the disinfecting robot can perform fogging or misting. It has the ability to climb flights of stairs and can disinfect large areas in a matter of minutes.

Mark Telford, managing director of Forth, said: “It can be used in offices, warehouses, transport hubs, schools, shopping complexes, or on the streets, anywhere inside or outside, wherever it’s required. It can be deployed in any building or any area, before people return after lockdown to make sure the space they are going back to is safe to use, and can be regularly re-used to decontaminate areas, whether that’s once a week or several times a day. The robot works in a similar way to a vapour cigarette in that it fires high-pressure vapour which will settle in every part of a designated area.

“We are known across the industry for responding quickly and coming up with quick, cost-efficient solutions which are ready to go. Our unique skills have been developed over the last 20 years of solving complex issues on the Sellafield site, with our proven products tried and tested in the nuclear industry.”


  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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