It is true that robots are mostly used to construct cars and carry out some other tasks at production factories, but those at CERN are largely used to make the laboratory safe for humans working under possible risks of exposure to radiations.
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One of the engineers working with robots at CERN, Mario Di Castro, explains that “Robots are needed at CERN because in some places there could be potential for radiation or an electrical or magnetic field that is too high for a person to be exposed to.”
Many of the robots have names at CERN, and they are assigned to perform difficult tasks that are adjudged too dangerous for man. One of them is named Telemax, it is always deployed to inspect radiation zones and ensure it is at safe levels before engineers and other workers are allowed to enter the area for work.
Telemax is remotely controlled by a specialist, and it is capable of performing other minor tasks such as screwing and unscrewing, cutting wires, as well as other numerous tasks that require precise manipulations. The remote operator controlling Telemax cannot see it, but it can see what the robot sees through its own eyes.
There is also another robot designed to work at CERN High Energy AcceleRator Mixed field facility. This one can lift heavy objects and drive heavy equipment through tight corridors and into areas of radiation that are not safe for humans to enter.
There is not debating the fact that many of the robots deployed to operate at CERN were initially designed for work in auto industries and other high-tech facilities, but they were adapted to be used at CERN because of their specialization.
Some have robotic arms fitted to manage and replace radioactive isotopes at the ISOLDE facility. Since targets of ISOLDE must be replaced up to 80 times annually, it is not possible for humans to do this because of the high level of radiations in the zone.
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And there is Crab, the robot that carries magnets used in CERN’s magnet test facility and LHC to other required places in the wide facility. It is remotely-controlled, and measures 10 meters long, 3.5 meters wide and almost 3.5 meters high. It usually transports 35 ton magnets, and can reach a speed of 4 km/h when not carrying such heavy magnets.