The project was aimed at improving the functional capabilities of teleoperators to meet fully the requirements of nuclear applications through the development and experimentation of new drive mechanisms, control architectures and methodologies.
The two main technical goals were to be: the realisation of an advanced manipulator drive system combining the best features of different classes of existing motors in a new hardware/software unit; the development of advanced algorithms and functions allowing substantially enhanced teleoperation.
The foreseen software developments were to be implemented on a standard VME-based computing architecture.
Research has been carried out in order to improve the functional capabilities of teleoperators to meet fully the requirements of nuclear applications through the development and experimentation of new drive mechanisms, control architecture and methodologies.
The project ended with industrial testing of the telemanipulator. Prior to this the following objectives have been achieved:
development of a new control board, based on an input/output VME card, including all the channels needed to control a 4 degree of freedom MASCOT servomanipulator and a biprocessor VME card (68040 and 68340) optimizing the computation performances of the joint control;
development of an algorithm to compensate the parasitic torques of a brushless motor, the example chosen being a MOOG motor;
development of a multimedia man robot interface, including 3-dimensional vision, voice communication and advanced man machine interface (MMI) (techniques, with added inertia compensation of the arm (integrated work has resulted in a new controller able to support both the old asynchronous motors and the new, software compensated, brushless MOOG motors).
The achieved results will be exploited by a variety of means depending on their nature. The work carried out by Prima led to a device that will be commercially available within a short time. Moreover, Prima is already exploiting the know-how in internal projects. The work carried out by the University of Oxford and EPFL Lausanne on the linearisation of brushless motors is curretly of great interest and has suggested some parallel industrial developments based on this theme. All these lines of exploitation will be applied not only in the nuclear industry but also in other sectors, showing the potential of originally nuclear industry-based tele-robotics research for spin-off into other areas.
The work carried out at ENEA on the Man-Robot interface is oriented more towards the niche of servo-manipulators, but ENEA is to extend these techniques, including the use of virtual reality, to develop know-how exploitable in other industrial applications. The next spet will be to enable the transportation of the tele-operators by coupling them with vehicles, thus obtaining much higher effectiveness in their operation in large power plants and other such installations.
Work to be done
-Optimisation of the performance of a prototype masterslave actuator pair incorporating high torque sensors. development of control algorithms. (Univ. Oxford and EPFL)
-VME-based system hardware and software (Prima)
-Man-machine interface for monitoring, supervision and selection of operating modes of the servomanipulator, aided by multi-sensor input (ENEA)
-Integration of the hardware and software developments and testing on Mascot 4 teleoperators. (ENEA/JET)
The results of the research and development phase were to be tested and validated on Mascot 4 teleoperators in the ENEA laboratory and in field testing at JET under real operating conditions.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
10024 Moncalieri Torino