Design of a drive package for an extreme environment

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Dr. Stumpf Péter Pál
Department of Automation and Applied Informatics

My aim with this paper was to describe the design process of a drive package, and the material analyzing robot it drives. The most important aspect of the design process is the working environment, which gains its complexity from the presence of elevated levels of radiation. This is due to it being placed in the Hot Cell of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant (Paks NPP for short), where irradiated test pieces are inspected and tested.

This radiation (both from the background and from irradiated test subject) makes the design process more complex in turn, with a focus on mainly the used materials and electronics. Some parts of the system could only be made with the expectation of them being shielded from the radiation, separated from the rest of the system.

I’ve had to acquire knowledge on the effects of radiation both on materials and simple or more complex machine parts. This study resulted in a basic guideline, which may be used on a different project with similar environmental constrictions. I have also checked the current applications in the area of radiation hardening around the world, which include: NASA (Mars rover); CERN (collimator); the robots cleaning the Fukushima disaster area and many others. After seeing what materials and technologies I could and couldn’t use, I was able to go through the design procedure.

The end result of the project is a drive package family (configurations with three different sizes), which can be reused or altered, in similar working conditions. Besides that, I’ve created a CAD model of the designed robot system, which, upon completion, can have its parts manufactured and assembled.

My main motivation was the same thing that made this project worthwhile – the unusual nature of a radiation-heavy environment. This makes this project special, different to the rest of the projects in the field.


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