Los Alamos National Laboratory currently possesses between 500 and 800 fiberglass-reinforced plywood crates that contain hazardous materials that need to be decontaminated. To access the hazardous material, a system is needed to dismantle the crate. Currently, crates are dismantled by workers using hand-held tools. This technique has numerous disadvantages. One disadvantage is that it is difficult for a worker to hold the tool for an extended period of time in the awkward angles and positions necessary to fully size-reduce the crate. Other disadvantages of using hand tools include managing power cords and vacuum hoses, which become entangled or can act as tripping hazards. In order to improve the crate opening and size-reduction task, Florida International University’s Hemispheric Center for Environmental Technology (HCET) is developing a manually operated crate dismantlement system. This versatile system is expected to greatly increase worker efficiency while decreasing fatigue and the possibility of accidents.

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