The development of remote maintenance systems for DEMO is driven by the need to maximise the overall plant availability, and therefore, minimise the plant downtime during foreseen maintenance operations. FinnFusion contributes strongly to this development in the fields of robotics as well as virtual and augmented reality.
Intelligent robotic performance in extreme conditions
Maintenance remains “device defining” and “mission-critical” and will determine the success of DEMO, but numerous engineering challenges still exist. VTT is active in designing DEMO maintenance systems for highly complex operations of components that are large, heavy and difficult to be reached and that must be moved within tight tolerances remotely and without human presence. Autonomous and reliable mechanical strategies to implicate intelligent robotic performance in extreme conditions are therefore pursued for the final design. The impact is on specializing robots for extreme conditions, implicating expertise in sensors, automation, control functions, and conditional monitoring.
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Increased situational awareness with virtual and augmented reality
Virtual and augmented reality solutions provide unobstructed virtual access for facility operators and maintenance crew to all areas of the operational environment, including areas with environment conditions prohibiting human access. At the heart of virtual access, a digital twin model of the facility is used to assemble multimodal spatial information (e.g. CAD-models, 3D scans, photos, specific measurements such as radiation, temperature, moisture etc.) into a coherent virtual duplicate of the facility. Information in the digital twin can be updated using sensors, system integrations or manual or automated information collections.
Virtual reality visualisation allows access inside a digital copy of the physical world. For immersive access, head-mounted displays are typically used. Augmented reality allows overlaying selected information from the digital twin to the real-world surroundings. Mobile phones and tablets, as well as dedicated augmented reality glasses, can be used to add a digital layer on top of the real-world view.
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Long-term fusion robotics development in Finnish universities
- Error modelling
- Flexible robot dynamic and vibration control
- AI methods for performance improvement of the robots in fusion reactor applications
- System design and key technologies development for the case closure welding for ITER Correction Coil
- Deformation control in the vacuum vessel assembly for the future fusion reactor
- Reliability based design
- Condition monitoring of the remote handling maintenance system
Since 2000, the Laboratory of Intelligent Machines in Lappeenranta University of Technology has participated in the ITER and EU DEMO projects and developed robotic and AI (artificial intelligence) methods for fusion reactor assembly of and maintenance. The research covers:
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Development of expertise and service portfolio for international markets
Comatec is constantly developing the technological know-how, expertise, and services for fusion and other demanding projects. Today, Comatec is actively co-operating with VTT in establishing the DEMO remote maintenance. Comatec is advancing XR-technology-based product visualisation, modelling and simulation of remote handling and robotics, including electrical transmissions, and the process verification methods for safety critical software. The potential applications include digitalisation and electrification in fusion and beyond.
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