Martin Baker

Working in partnership with  Martin Baker logo

Martin-Baker has been the world’s leader in the design and manufacture of ejection and crash-worthy seats for over 70 years.

Martin-Baker solutions have saved over 7,600 lives with the latest designs offering unprecedented life-saving capabilities, with over 17,000 seats currently in service.

To date, Martin-Baker is the only company to offer a fully integrated escape system that satisfied the very latest in pilot operational capability and safety standards.


The Problem

Prior to the Robur solution, Martin-Baker was handling scaled mannequins in the Test Department using a “block and tackle” approach to lift mannequins in and out of test seats.

The approach was limited to a defined area in the Test Department with limited use of a conventional forklift truck. This machine was inflexible due to the overhead height restrictions caused by lights and the air conditioning system as well as limited doorway heights. With the requirement to manage the mannequins externally on site over rough ground using a traditional forklift truck, the previous approach often incurred “grounding” due to uneven ground.

This also presented a safety hazard due to the manual handling of the machine over rough ground.

Aims & Objectives

The company sort a bespoke handling solution to address the issues and welcomed Robur expertise and opinion, having workedCounterbalance Martin Baker successfully with them in the past.

As well as solving the key issues, it was essential that any new machine was able to move successfully between the Test Lab and the Engineering Workshop through small doorways and over rough ground, eliminating the need to transverse the building between the two departments.

The Robur Solution

After completing a site survey and seeing the issues first-hand, Robur designed a bespoke handling solution based on an electric pedestrian counterbalanced stacker machine with a 1,000kg capacity @ 500mm load centre.

A detachable carriage mounted high lift jib and hook (with a storage stand for when not in use) provided easy attachment for the mannequins. 

The jib is removed from the machine using the quick release retaining blocks and converting the machine to conventional forklift equipment.

A full free lift designed mast addressed the limited doorway heights and the proposed machine has a ground clearance of 50mm as opposed to 30mm on the previous machine preventing a risk to “grounding”.

This new increased ground clearance and a compact chassis design without restricting support legs will allow the new Robur machine to work within the test areas, eliminating the need for a conventional forklift truck to operate in this area. 


 Martin Baker commented:

We sought to find a better all-in-one solution to moving our test manikins, seats and fixturing within the Environmental Test department, without having to operate large vehicles or present manual handling risks.

Robur is producing a bespoke lift truck that should bring together multiple lifting tasks into one.

Having a single lifting truck that has the capability of a forklift and the option of a lifting jib for moving Seats and Test Manikins will improve efficiency and flexibility across an extensive range of tasks, all while reducing manual handling risks. 

Cian Wheeler
Senior Test Technician – Team Lead, Environmental Test, Martin Baker Aircraft Company Ltd.


To arrange a free initial consultation for any materials handling project, email the Robur team at