Inflatable robotics for long-range inspection

Is this your challenge?

nuclear power plant inspection
Legacy facilities have complex geometries limiting man access, Source: Lana Slator,

Nuclear power plants, reprocessing facilities and waste repositories do often present areas with limited access, complex geometry and often constraints that preclude human access. 

Cells, stores, bays are but a few environments that fit this description. Areas which have been historically designed to keep inventory safe and now need to be monitor to ascertain their conditions. Often, even a simple video survey can be difficult as the complex geometry, limited access points and sheer size of these areas can sometimes make for an extremely difficult scenario to tackle.

Traditional survey methods do have limitations in these environments and reaching certain points within these areas can still be difficult and sometimes impossible.

Finding better ways to monitor plant conditions while increasing safety and keeping cost low will be a priority for all operators. Solutions are being developed to ensure a viable way to survey such environments and to guarantee that all personnel exposition to dose is kept as low as possible during survey, repair or maintenance work. 


AirCube is a new company. Based in France, they design novel inflatable structures for robotics and maintenance. AirCube, a spinoff of Warein Confection Technique, benefits from decades of know-how and expertise.

Innovative since 1939. Warein Confection Technique designs and manufactures in France textile articles of very high technicality. Main supplier of defence not relocated, co-developer in robotics with the French army and the CEA, supplier for the automobile and furniture, Warein Confection Technique puts its know-how and innovative technologies at your disposal to offer you the product that will best meet your expectations.

Since 2018, Warein, through now what is AirCube, has been offering a new type of inflatable arms that are powerful and robust. Originally intended for the inspection of congested environments, this concept can be declined for inspection or intervention in any type of large-scale or hard-to-reach structure. This arm has many advantages over conventional robotic structures: it is lighter, easy to store once deflated, shock-resistant and safe for users.

At inTechBrew, we think that this technology is nothing short of revolutionary. This inspection robot is so light that it can be transported in a backpack. With long reach, surprisingly good payload and intuitive controls, AirCube provides a fantastic solution for monitoring the most complex of environment. 

remote inspection
An embedded camera within the arm’s head

User case


Orano DS – La Hague, Demonstration Hall, Beaumont-Hague, France

Dissolver Cell mock-up (non-active)

  • Other COTS camera systems can be deployed but have limited reach in this type of environment.
  • The inflatable arm has been deployed deflated through a small hole.
  • Once inflated, it completed a survey taking pictures, videos and 3D scan.
  • The length of the arm was 5 meters, with a diameter of 9cm and a maximum payload of 500g.
  • The arm alone was weighing 1.2 Kg
pipe inspection
The arm bending in a test facility
la hague nuclear inspection
The arm has the capability to reach long distances
visual inspection nuclear
A camera can be set up on the arm

The technology

camera nuclear
A snapshot of the camera used during trials
nuclear remote inspection
A global view of the arm being tested
nuclear innovation
A CAD view of the arm

There are plenty of robotic arms but only a handful of inflatables and only one with the AirCube capabilities.

For other snake-like arm or other articulated solutions, it is obvious that weight is a major problem in the design of this type of robot. It will limit the maximum length as well as the amplitudes and speeds of movement. 

Currently, the nuclear industry uses carbon fibre or titanium robots, which are expensive and complicated to use and manufacture. Whereas it is very difficult to move a 25-metre-long robotic arm made of traditional solid materials, the AirCube inspection robot is light and, no matter how long, can be easily setup.

Based on a textile (a very thin composite composed of high strength fibres and a waterproof coating), this inflatable robotic arm is articulated, resistant, lightweight and easily transportable (once deflated, it folds like a sheet). 

The patented textile actuators (pneumatic traction cylinders) are some of the lightest and strongest in the world (a 40-gram actuator can lift 40 kg).

Once deployed, it is an inflatable articulated arm, which stretches from a few meters to more than 30 meters.

Very sturdy, it carries its own weight and is not limited in size. An arm can be 25 meters long with a weight of 20 kg and can carry at least 10 kg of payload at its tip (see table).Composed of only fabric and air, the robotic arm is able to perform inspections in very tight environments without risking damage to walls or furniture. 

screen remote inspection nuclear innovation
A user-friendly control station

It should be noted that the arm can be inflated and operated by air but also by other fluids, it is possible to imagine underwater uses in which the arm would be immersed and filled with water. 

The advantages of such a robot:

  • Ideal for hard-to-reach, and hostile environments, 
  • Lightness, ease of transport and storage,
  • Impact resistant,
  • Silent operation,
  • Absence of risk to users (lightweight and made from innovative textile, the risks associated with contact are thus limited),
  • Can be setup with protective cover to meet the most restrictive environments.

Diameter (m) and Payload (Kg)

0 Kg0,1 Kg0,5 Kg1 Kg2 Kg3 Kg4 Kg5 Kg6 Kg7 Kg8 Kg9 Kg10 Kg
0,1 m7,1 m; 1,7 Kg6,7 m; 1,6 Kg5,3 m; 1,2 Kg4 m; 1 Kg2,6 m; 0,6 Kg1,8 m; 0,4 Kg1,4 m; 0,3 Kg1,2 m; 0,3 Kg1 m; 0,2 Kg0,8 m; 0,2 Kg0,7 m; 0,2 Kg0,7 m; 0,2 Kg0,6 m; 0,1 Kg
0,15 m10,6 m; 3,3 Kg10,4 m; 3,2 Kg9,3 m; 2,8 Kg8,2 m; 2,4 Kg6,4 m; 1,8 Kg5,1 m; 1,4 Kg4,2 m; 1,2 Kg3,6 m; 1 Kg3,1 m; 0,8 Kg2,7 m; 0,7 Kg2,4 m; 0,6 Kg2,1 m; 0,6 Kg1,9 m; 0,5 Kg
0,2 m14 m; 6,1 Kg13,8 m; 6 Kg13 m; 5,6 Kg12,1 m; 5,2 Kg10,5 m; 4,4 Kg9,1 m; 3,8 Kg8 m; 3,3 Kg7,1 m; 2,9 Kg6,3 m; 2,6 Kg5,7 m; 2,3 Kg5,1 m; 2,1 Kg4,7 m; 1,9 Kg4,3 m; 1,7 Kg
0,25 m17,3 m; 9,9 Kg17,1 m; 9,8 Kg16,5 m; 9,4 Kg15,7 m; 8,9 Kg14,4 m; 8,1 Kg13,1 m; 7,3 Kg12 m; 6,7 Kg11 m;6,1 Kg10,1 m; 5,6 Kg9,4 m; 5,1 Kg8,7 m; 4,7 Kg8,1 m; 4,4 Kg7,5 m; 4,1 Kg
0,3 m20,4 m; 14,7 Kg20,3 m; 14,6 Kg19,8 m; 14,2 Kg19,1 m; 13,7 Kg18 m; 12,8 Kg16,9 m; 12 Kg15,9 m; 11,2 Kg14,9 m; 10,5 Kg14,1 m; 9,8 Kg13,3 m; 9,3 Kg12,5 m; 8,7 Kg11,8 m; 8,2 Kg11,2 m; 7,8 Kg
0,35 m23,4 m; 20,5 Kg23,3 m; 20,4 Kg22,9 m; 20 Kg22,4 m; 19,5 Kg21,4 m; 18,6 Kg20,4 m; 17,7 Kg19,5 m; 16,9 Kg18,7 m; 16,1 Kg17,8 m; 15,3 Kg17,1 m; 14,6 Kg16,3 m; 14 Kg15,7 m; 13,4 Kg15 m; 12,8 Kg
0,4 m26,3 m; 27,4 Kg26,3 m; 27,3 Kg25,9 m; 26,9 Kg25,4 m; 26,4 Kg24,6 m; 25,5 Kg23,7 m; 24,5 Kg22,9 m; 23,7 Kg22,2 m; 22,8 Kg21,4 m; 22 Kg20,7 m; 21,3 Kg20 m; 20,5 Kg19,4 m; 19,8 Kg18,8 m; 19,2 Kg
0,45 m29,2 m; 35,4 Kg29,1 m; 35,3 Kg28,8 m; 34,9 Kg28,4 m; 34,4 Kg27,6 m; 33,5 Kg26,9 m; 32,5 Kg26,2 m; 31,6 Kg25,5 m; 30,8 Kg24,8 m; 29,9 Kg24,2 m; 29,1 Kg23,5 m; 28,3 Kg22,9 m; 27,5 Kg22,3 m; 26,8 Kg
0,5 m31,9 m; 44,6 Kg31,8 m; 44,5 Kg31,6 m; 44,1 Kg31,2 m; 43,6 Kg30,6 m; 42,7 Kg29,9 m; 41,7 Kg29,3 m; 40,8 Kg28,7 m; 39,9 Kg28,1 m; 39 Kg27,5 m; 38,2 Kg26,9 m; 37,3 Kg26,3 m; 36,5 Kg25,8 m; 35,7 Kg
0,55 m34,5 m; 55 Kg34,5 m; 54,9 Kg34,2 m; 54,5 Kg33,9 m; 54 Kg33,4 m; 53,1 Kg32,8 m; 52,1 Kg32,2 m; 51,2 Kg31,7 m; 50,2 Kg31,1 m; 49,3 Kg30,6 m; 48,5 Kg30,1 m; 47,6 Kg29,5 m; 46,8 Kg29 m; 45,9 Kg
0,6 m35,9 m; 63,7 Kg35,8 m; 63,6 Kg35,6 m; 63,2 Kg35,3 m; 62,7 Kg34,8 m; 61,7 Kg34,3 m; 60,7 Kg33,7 m; 59,8 Kg33,2 m; 58,8 Kg32,7 m;57,9 Kg32,2 m; 57 Kg31,7 m; 56,2 Kg31,3 m; 55,3 Kg30,8 m; 54,4 Kg
0,65 m37 m;71,6 Kg37 m; 71,5 Kg36,8 m; 71,1 Kg36,5 m; 70,6 Kg36 m; 69,6 Kg35,5 m; 68,7 Kg35,1 m; 67,7 Kg34,6 m; 66,8 Kg34,1 m; 65,8 Kg33,7 m; 64,9 Kg33,2 m; 64 Kg32,8 m; 63,2 Kg32,3 m; 62,3 Kg
0,7 m38,1 m; 79,8 Kg38 m; 79,7 Kg37,8 m; 79,3 Kg37,6 m; 78,8 Kg37,2 m; 77,8 Kg36,7 m; 76,8 Kg36,3 m; 75,9 Kg35,8 m; 74,9 Kg35,4 m; 74 Kg34,9 m; 73,1 Kg34,5 m; 72,2 Kg34,1 m; 71,3 Kg33,7 m; 70,4 Kg
0,75 m39,1 m; 88,2 Kg39 m; 88,1 Kg38,8 m; 87,7 Kg38,6 m; 87,2 Kg38,2 m; 86,2 Kg37,8 m; 85,2 Kg37,4 m; 84,3 Kg37 m; 83,3 Kg36,5 m; 82,4 Kg36,1 m; 81,5 Kg35,7 m; 80,5 Kg35,4 m; 79,6 Kg35 m; 78,8 Kg
0,8 m40 m; 96,8 Kg40 m; 96,7 Kg39,8 m; 96,3 Kg39,6 m; 95,8 Kg39,2 m; 94,9 Kg38,8 m; 93,9 Kg38,4 m; 92,9 Kg38 m; 92 Kg37,6 m; 91 Kg37,3 m; 90,1 Kg36,9 m; 89,2 Kg36,5 m; 88,3 Kg36,1 m; 87,3 Kg
0,85 m40,8 m;105,7 Kg40,8 m; 105,6 Kg40,7 m; 105,2 Kg40,5 m; 104,7 Kg40,1 m; 103,7 Kg39,7 m; 102,7 Kg39,4 m; 101,8 Kg39 m; 100,8 Kg38,6 m; 99,9 Kg38,3 m; 98,9 Kg37,9 m; 98 Kg37,6 m; 97,1 Kg37,2 m; 96,2 Kg
0,9 m41,6 m; 114,7 Kg41,6 m; 114,6 Kg41,5 m; 114,2 Kg41,3 m; 113,7 Kg40,9 m; 112,7 Kg40,6 m; 111,7 Kg40,2 m; 110,8 Kg39,9 m; 109,8 Kg39,6 m; 108,8 Kg39,2 m; 107,9 Kg38,9 m; 107 Kg38,6 m; 106 Kg38,2 m; 105,1 Kg
0,95 m42,4 m; 123,9 Kg42,4 m; 123,8 Kg42,2 m; 123,4 Kg42,1 m; 122,9 Kg41,7 m; 121,9 Kg41,4 m; 120,9 Kg41,1 m; 120 Kg40,7 m; 119 Kg40,4 m; 118 Kg40,1 m; 117,1 Kg39,8 m; 116,1 Kg39,5 m; 115,2 Kg39,1 m; 114,3 Kg
1 m43,1 m;133,2 Kg43,1 m;133,1 Kg42,9 m;132,7 Kg42,8 m; 132,2 Kg42,4 m; 131,2 Kg42,1 m; 130,3 Kg41,8 m; 129,3 Kg41,5 m; 128,3 Kg41,2 m; 127,4 Kg40,9 m; 126,4 Kg40,6 m; 125,5 Kg40,3 m; 124,5 Kg40 m; 123,6 Kg
Length and weight of the arm alone

Any questions ? Interested in another long-range inspection system ? Do not hesitate to contact us directly, we will help you find a fit-for-purpose, cost-efficient solution to your challenge.


Sebastien Voisembert (CEO)

8b Rue Saint Martin 

53100 Mayenne


Phone : +33 6 84 66 64 80

E-mail :

logo intechbrew
Contact Info
Follow us on: