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May/June 2024 | Nontethelelo Ramantswana

Dronster robot designed for forest firefighting

Fire management

Forest protection

Dronster is a specialised wildfire product from Vallfirest. The company is a manufacturer of equipment, tools and solutions for forest firefighting. The Dronster product offers forestry landowners an opportunity to improve forest management from the point of view of vegetation clearing and wildfire prevention.

What is it?
The Dronster is a remote-control emergency robot specially designed to perform indirect fire attack, and rescue operations. It is a flexible and versatile emergency tool which can operate on difficult forestry terrain conditions. Furthermore, it aims to improve the safety and efficiency of workers working in high-risk environments such as those prevalent in wildfire operations. The overall team performance in firefighting operations can be significantly improved because it is remote controlled.

How it works?
The operator can remotely control the Dronster at a 150 m range, and it can reach a maximum speed of 5 km/h. The Dronster can be integrated with several tools to enable it to operate efficiently when faced with wildfire operations. In forestry conditions it can be used to create a firebreak ahead of a fire, clear dense vegetation, distribute the fuel load and fire extinguishing. Furthermore, it can be used for rescue operations e.g. to move or transport people who may have been injured.

Tools and equipment
• pump module; high-pressure extinguishing assembly with high-quality components and compact design (rear-mounted)
• cannon is an essential tool for remote extinguishing of fires (to be installed in front)
• rear bucket for moving and pulling the remains of combustible materials produced by the shredder (rear-mounted)
• the fan is used e.g. to create positive pressure for smoke extraction and increase water efficiency (to be installed at the front)
• a brush chopper that can be raised up to a meter high. High cutting power, hybrid axles Forestal 360° features (front-mounted)
• vegetation loosener controls the growth of the vegetation and helps to maintain the plant cover while respecting the environment (front-mounted)
• backhoe, a useful tool for creating trenches in organic material or subgrade (front-mounted)

Other interesting information:
• adjustable front angle of attack,
• able to work efficiently on slopes of more than 30°
• small size, able to pass through bushes up to 90 cm high
• small size, able to work effectively in forested terrain with dense planting spacing
• can be equipped with front and rear-mounted tools at the same time as well as top-mounted accessories
• front arm can be raised up to 1 meter, load capacity up to 300 kg
• quick attachment system, the upper part can be used as a stretcher for evacuating the wounded
• small size and light weight, easy to move in pick-up trucks and bakkies, helicopters and optional compact trailers
• suitable for cleaning work, firefighting and controlled fires

Technical Specifications of Vallfirest’s Dronster