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TELEMAN 18 : a prototype dextrous gripper for tele-manipulation in nuclear environments



The objective of "TELEMAN 18" was to develop a prototype gripper module equipped with an intelligent knowledge-based controller. "TELEMAN 18" was initially to determine the research issues and engineering requirements for designing, constructing and operating such intelligent gripper modules. The progress to be made relative to the current state of the art was to be in the field of autonomy, such that the gripper was to be able to perform operations without the assistance of a human being. Tasks for the gripper system were to include assembly, maintenance and inspection.
A prototype gripper module is being developed which is equipped with an intelligent knowledge based controller.
A detailed survey of industrial user needs and requirements for nuclear environmental tolerance and an outline specification of the gripper design were produced. This was followed by the designing, development, construction and testing of the gripper with its associated manipulator and force control systems and man machine interface. The main building blocks which have been developed are as follows:
a real time control system for fine motion operation including 3-dimensional graphics software for visualization;
a high level control system based on primitives;
a man machine interface with bilateral position and force control;
object shape recognition with the aid of tactile sensors;
a low level position and force control system;
radiation tolerant sensors and actuators for the gripper;
a modular reconfigurable 3-fingered gripper with an active palm carried on an adapted manipulator for inspection and intervention tasks.
The real-time control system including the 3-D visualisation software has been commercialised, and examples have been sold to Combustion Engineering in the USA and Ontario-Hydro in Canada. The building blocks developed and integration into the TLELEMAN TM46 - LACWAP long reach arm research machine project. A large number of scientific papers have been written by the partners and the project has been the basis for much work in student research projects.
Work to be done

The initial feasibility study was to provide information which would help with the analysis of gripper tasks, construction of the gripper mechanics, research and development of radiation resistant sensors, development of a knowledge-based sensor fusion module, development of the hardware and software of a realtime controller and controller design. The continuation of the project was to comprise the detailed design and development of the prototype gripper and adapted manipulator along with the associated sensor and control systems. Particular attention was to be paid to the radiation tolerance of the design.

Test strategy

The project was to begin as a feasibility study to define user needs and the specification for a gripper for nuclear applications. The manufacturing and testing of the gripper was to be performed in three stages:

(a) first one finger was to be manufactured and tested;
(b) secondly the gripper as a whole was to be produced and tested;
(c) thirdly the combination gripper and its OCTOVERA carrier manipulator were to be tested in a geometrically realistic mock-up of a nuclear work site.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Technische Universiteit Delft
2600 GA Delft

Participants (2)

Universite Libre de Bruxelles
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 50
Vermaat Technics BV
3235 XK Rockanje