Expodefensa 2023 – Indumil continues developing the PRM Colombian EOD robot

Douglas Hernández

The Indumil state-owned company, part of the Defence Social and Business Group (GSED), has been developing an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) robot for several years, in the effort to help neutralising mines, improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance threats, a particularly critical issue in Colombia

Indumil is mainly involved in the design and manufacturing of weapons, ammunition and explosives, which are used by the Colombian Military Forces, the Colombian Police, and by specialized companies such as mining companies.

This company produces pistols, revolvers, shotguns, rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, mortars, as well as ammunition of different calibres to supply the Colombian Armed Forces, and national and international markets. It constantly undertakes innovative projects, including this EOD robot.

Known as PRM, the Spanish acronym for Plataforma Robótica Móvil (Mobile Robotic Platform), this remote-controlled robot uses a disruptor cannon to neutralize explosive devices, but it can also be used for surveillance, recovery, rescue, and reconnaissance in areas contaminated with dangerous substances. It is designed to operate with first response teams, and can be configured in different ways.

The PRM is operated remotely, either using a 250 metres long command cable, or operated wireless via a radiofrequency command. It is fitted with five cameras which include night vision and infrared, and with a robotic arm equipped with a gripper used to manipulate suspicious objects, without putting personnel at risk. The Colombian PRM can drag loads up to 80 kilograms, which means that under appropriate conditions it can drag a human body out of danger and take it to a safe area, or it can move a suspicious or dangerous object away from a critical point. Its maximum lift capacity is up to 20 kilograms.

Within its basic equipment, the PRM is equipped with a telescopic extension that reaches a height of 2.30 metres, allowing it to inspect the upper part of vehicles or infrastructures.

Electrically powered, it is driven by brushless DC motors, is fitted with rubber tracks, and its speed can be regulated from 0 to 15 km/h. The control unit consists of a laptop computer and a joystick, and features a dedicated interface control for the pan-tilt-zoom camera with a 1920 x 1080 pixels Full HD resolution. Its battery pack provides an autonomy that ranges from 4 to 6 hours, depending on certain variables in the operation. The PRM is 835 mm long, 640 mm wide and is 650 mm high with its telescopic extension folded; the total weight of the robot is 90 kg.

EDR On-Line understood that the price of the Colombian PRM is close to 1,000 million pesos, which at the current exchange rate would be about 233,000 Euros, a fairly competitive price, if compared to similar equipment on the international market.

The Indumil Research and Development department has dedicated a lot of time and effort to this project, which will undoubtedly contribute to saving lives, not only in Colombia, but also in other countries around the world. Capt. (ret) Óscar Buitrago who was the victim of an explosive device in during a military operation, and as a result lost one of his legs, participated in the R&D process, which shows an important symbolism and generates great motivation.

This is not the first time that Indumil’s PRM was exhibited at Expodefensa, but it must be underlined that the one seen at the 2023 edition was an improved version. The Colombian Military and Police Forces have many anti-explosive robots, of different brands and models, with the possibility of making evaluations and comparisons. Indumil is trying to meet and exceed the operational levels and efficiency of imported robots. With which it could cover not only national demand, but also export, leveraging on the “combat proven” certificate.

Photo by D. Hernández