Barrnon’s innovative floating deployment tool, the HydroSpyder has successfully undergone a series of open water tests on Ullswater in the Lake District.

Inspired by the water boatman insect, which uses surface tension to walk on water, the HydroSpyder can be propelled to any point in order to deploy a wide range of different tools.

Available in different sizes, the test HydroSpyder can lift up to 18 tonnes under water and, like all of Barrnon’s tools, can be operated with precision from a remote location.


The HydroSpyder’s buoyancy can be varied and, using its hydraulic legs, it can alter its size to manoeuvre into restrictive areas. Using on-board cameras, it provides the operator with a clear view of the environment and the work being undertaken.

“HydroSpyder is the first floating crane that’s totally independent of pond infrastructure,” said Barrnon MD, Andy Barr. “Using remotely controlled hydraulics it can alter its shape to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. Its variable buoyancy also allows it to sink in a controlled fashion.”

A flexible tool

As well as lifting and transporting heavy items under water, it can deliver and deploy Barrnon’s Bladecutter tools for nuclear sludge cutting and retrieval.

While active and passive HydroSpyder prototypes have already been developed, tested and displayed to the National Nuclear Laboratory the fully functional HydroSpyder tested on Ullswater demonstrated its lifting capability, maneuverability, stability and its ability to change shape.

“We’re delighted with the test results – they really showed HydroSpyder’s potential,” Andy added.

Watch the video of HydroSpyder in action!