Andy Smith
MIne-action specialist


Two-handed excavator for demining

Excavator hand tool

This demining hand tool was first designed by MIT to meet the rules required to ensure that a tool does not separate or fragment in an anti-personnel mine blast. The tool is intended to replace the pick-axe (still widely used) when starting an excavation on ground that is very hard. MIT did not make or finalise the design, so I did.

blade of excavatorThe excavator is made entirely of malleable steel with reinforced welds between the handles and the angled shaft to prevent separation in a blast. The long shaft makes it difficult for a deminer on his/her knees to dig vertically. The angled shaft has a sharp tip and is easy to direct accurately when starting an excavation.

The two-handed digging action copies the two-handed "hammers" used by the police to force open doors, maximising the user's force while minimising effort.

deminer using excavator in Sri Lanka

The user’s forward hand is protected by a pliant and washable ballistic aramid hand-guard. A pit to the required depth is made well in advance of the detector-indication. The deminer then works forward with smaller tools.