Robotics workshop approved

A Burwell company which specialises in developing and making mine-clearing equipment has been given the go-ahead to expand its operation.

Armtrac Ltd’s range of de-mining machines have been used in Albania, Angola, Bosnia, Croatia, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mozambique, Sudan, Northern Iraq as well as for the clearance of Ministry of Defence firing ranges in the United Kingdom.

The new workshop, which was approved by East Cambridgeshire district planners on Wednesday, will provide a sterile and clean environment to manufacture and assemble the electronic and robotic equipment associated with the production of its new £150,000 Armtrac 20T, a fully remote controlled unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) with a range of up to one kilometre.

It is designed to survey fields for mines and can not only detect the explosive devices but can disable booby trapped bombs using an arm at the back.

Armtrac’s managing director Steve Brown said: “The robots have to be built in a clean area, which we don’t have currently in the main workshop.”

Armtrac is also building a centre which will house and train overseas workers.

Burwell MP Sir Jim Paice, who recently toured the Armtrac site accompanied by Conservative parliamentary candidate Lucy Frazer, East Cambridgeshire council leader James Palmer and Burwell ward councillor David Brown said: “I continue to be impressed by the range and quality of equipment which Armtrac produces, right from the smallest robot to the largest. This is very much the sort of manufacturing-led business we’re keen to promote to encourage the growth of our economy.”

East Cambridgeshire planning committee vice-chairman Cllr Josh Schumann, who was said: “This is a company who support and employ local people. The committee felt its work was incredible.

“I’m absolutely certain that the committee will be happy to see more of their good work nd their proposal was in line with the council’s smaller businesses growth strategy.”