A one year feasibility study, funded under the TELEMAN programme in the first phase of this project, demonstrated the concepts which enable digital photogrammetric systems to create CAD models of process plant items. The objective of the continuation of this feasibility study was to develop these concepts into a prototype system which could be subjected to a number of realistic trials by operators of nuclear facilities including British Nuclear Fuels, Electricite de France and Nuclear Electric. There were to be four principal objectives to the project:
- Enhancement of HAZMAP software (HAZMAP II);
- Trial of HAZMAP II;
- Development of a 'free space' command and control system;
- Coupling of the camera module with a light mobile robotic vehicle.
A 1-year feasibility study, demonstrated the concepts which enable digital photogrammetric systems to create computer aided design (CAD) models of process plant items. The resulting concepts have been integrated into a prototype system to be tested by operators of nuclear facilities.
The participation of end users has been canvassed with respect to the design and implementation of a pragmatic solution to the problems of plant owners, operators, and engineers. The solution has been submitted to trials in a range of industrial applications including:
remotely controlled delivery to an inaccessible area at the British Nuclear Fuels reprocessing facility;
accuracy testing in comparison with manual surveying techniques at an Electricite de France pressurized water reactor (PWR) plant under construction in Northern France;
operation in high levels of radiation and very restricted and remote measurement of the Nuclear Electric Sizewell A reactor core.
The third example was added to the initially planned test schedule and was a vital part of a major maintenance intervention which required the verification of a CAD model of the internals of a Magnox reactor on an operational power plant. This trial confirmed the practicality of using the system in earnest in a real nuclear environment and according to tight deadlines.
The many suggestions from the plant operators have been incorporated. The result is a digital photogrammetry system which, for the first time, gives process engineers direct access to state of the art measurement techniques. This contrasts with the current reliance of end users on out sourcing of the entire responsiblity for as built survey operations to specialist contractors.
The mounting of the HAZMAP unit on the Kentree mobile vehicle has demonstrated how the system might be deployed in a relatively open area. Using a space communication network the robot and camera surveillance unit can be controlled without the requirement for an umbilical cable.
On-going work within the TM45 - IMPACT project will build upon the work on the building blocks developed in this project to offer greater functionality and robustness. University College London has spun out a small company, As-Built Solutions Ltd, which will seek to exploit the IPR developed within TM29. As part of this exploitation a number of client-funded trials have been undertaken in Europe, the Middle East, Japan, and USA. These trials demonstrate that the techniques are not only applicable to the nuclear industry but are also of great value to other process industries.
Work to be done
Enhancement of HAZMAP software (HAZMAP II)
The existing HAZMAP software was to be enhanced to provide further computer assistance to a CAD operator. Photogrammetric modifications were to include the automation of camera colibration, the improvement of the functional camera model, a stereo viewing capability and an enhanced coordinate geometry library. The system was to be based on an industry standard UNIX workstation and implemented under Xwindows. Camera hardware was to be based upon the pan/tilt unit developed under TM29 feasibility project.
Trial of HAZMAP II
UCL hardware and software was to be tested in simulated (non-radioactive) operating environments. Interfaces were to be developed to link HAZMAP II to IGRIP and PDMS CAD modelling tools.
Development of a 'free space' command and control system
Loughborough University in association with Kentree Ltd were to enhance the control system of an existing light mobile robot to test communication via a line-of-sight laser or microwave linkage. This novel system was intended to demonstrate the utility of such a strategy, enabling the free roving vehicle to operate without the constraints of an umbilical cord.
Coupling of the camera module with a light mobile robotic vehicle Subject to the satisfactory completion of the trials in the second objective, the camera module was to be mounted upon a modified Hobo robot vehicle supplied by Kentree Ltd. Further trials were to be carried out in laboratory conditions to evaluate the HAZMAP concept under simulated remote operating conditions using existing communication technology.
The project was to include on-site, although non-radioactive, testing of the system in a representative range of different nuclear installations for fuel re-processing and power generation.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
DA1 5PY Dartford