Tuesday 22 August 2017

Rogue robot 'crushed maintenance worker to death' at car parts factory

A rogue robot (not pictured) has been blamed for the death of a factory worker in Michigan
A rogue robot (not pictured) has been blamed for the death of a factory worker in Michigan

Mark Molloy in London

A 'rogue' robot has been blamed for the death of a woman killed in an accident at a car parts factory in Michigan, US.

Wanda Holbrook, who worked as a maintenance technician at the Ventra Ionia Mains plant for 12 years, was "trapped by robotic machinery and pronounced dead at the scene".

The 57-year-old's widower, William Holbrook, has filed a wrongful death complaint seeking damages from five companies responsible for manufacturing and installing the robotics: Lincoln Electric, Flex-N-Gate, Prodomax, FANUC and Nachi.

"Wanda was working in either section 140 or 150 within the '100' cell, when a robot from section 130 took Wanda by surprise, entering the section she was working," the lawsuit alleges over the incident in July 2015.

She "suffered tremendous fright, shock and conscious pain and suffering" when she was crushed to death, it said.

"The robot from section 130 should have never entered section 140, and should have never attempted to load a hitch assembly within a fixture that was already loaded with a hitch assembly.

"A failure of one or more of defendants' safety systems or devices had taken place, causing Wanda's death."

Lincoln Electric, FANUC and Nachi have been named in two additional claims of product liability and breach of implied warranty.

Ms Holbrook performed maintenance duties on robots which required occasional inspection.

Irish Independent

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