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A sensor-based automation system for handling nuclear materials

By: Darras, D.; Wapman, W.; Kimberly, H.; Drotning, W.; Montoya, C.; Homan, D.; Lennox, R.C.; Kuhlmann, J.; Kast, B.; Johnson, P.;

1997 / IEEE / 0-7803-3612-7


This item was taken from the IEEE Periodical ' A sensor-based automation system for handling nuclear materials ' An automated system is being developed for handling large payloads of radioactive nuclear materials in an analytical laboratory. The automation system performs unpacking and repacking of payloads from shipping and storage containers, and delivery of the payloads to the stations in the laboratory. The system uses machine vision and force/torque sensing to provide sensor-based control of the automation system in order to enhance system safety, flexibility, and robustness, and achieve easy remote operation. The automation system also controls the operation of the laboratory measurement systems and the coordination of them with the robotic system. Particular attention has been given to system design features and analytical methods that provide an enhanced level of operational safety. Independent mechanical gripper interlock and tool release mechanisms were designed to prevent payload mishandling. An extensive failure modes and effects analysis of the automation system was developed as a safety design analysis tool.