NIST Technology Called Upon to Clean Up Chernobyl Disaster Site

A modified version of the RoboCrane®, a unique floating platform
developed by manufacturing research engineers at the National Institute
of Standards and Technology (NIST), will be helping cleanup operations
fly into action over the destroyed reactor number four at the former
Chernobyl nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine. PaR Systems, a
company based in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., owns a license to use the
computer-controlled roving tool platform in the area immediately
surrounding the exploded reactor core.

On April 26, 1986, a confluence of a variety of factors and errors
caused a massive power surge resulting in a core explosion at reactor
number four of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine in
the former Soviet Union. The core explosion released a plume of highly
radioactive material into the atmosphere and necessitated the evacuation
of nearly 340,000 people from the surrounding areas. The International
Atomic Energy Association and the World Health Organization state that
31 people died of injuries sustained during the explosion and estimate
that 4,000 additional cancer deaths may be attributable to the release
of radioactivity.

The G-7 countries, the European Commission, and the Ukraine
government decided to replace the hastily constructed “sarcophagus” that
presently covers the crater with a more robust shelter in 1997.
Construction on the shelter, which will house and support the tool
platform and other instruments related to the cleanup effort, began in
2006.

Developed at NIST in the 1990s, the Modular Suspended Manipulator,*
expands upon the principle of a Stewart platform, a device that uses
three sets of paired winches (motor-driven spools of cable) to suspend
and manipulate a platform with six degrees of freedom (lateral,
longitudinal, vertical, roll, pitch and yaw). Stewart platforms are most
familiar for their use as the base of flight simulators. (See the NIST
RoboCrane project summary at http://www.nist.gov/mel/isd/ms/robocrane.cfm.)

PaR extensively modified the nine cable version of the Modular
Suspended Manipulator to create a kind of mobile tool resembling a
pencil stuck through a slice of pizza. Cables are affixed to the top end
of the pencil, or spine, as well as the pizza, the triangular platform,
enabling the whole assembly to not only move freely through the air,
but also make complicated stylus-like motions. (Hold a pencil at its
midpoint with the point down between thumb and forefinger and place the
other forefinger on the eraser. Move the pen every which way to get an
idea of how the machine moves.) The design’s precision maneuverability
throughout a large space and ability to be outfitted with a large
variety of tools make it ideal for this type of application.

The company will affix a variety of interchangeable tools to the end
of the spine, including a robotic arm, drill, jackhammer, shear,
high-power vacuum system, and closed circuit television viewing system,
all of which will be operated remotely.

* J.S. Albus, R.V. Bostelman and A.S. Jacoff. Modular suspended manipulator. United States Patent No. 6,566,834, May 20, 2003.

Media Contact: Mark Esser, mark.esser@nist.gov, 301-975-8735

About Michael Baum

Reformed perl hacker. Ex-lyricist for Plasticine.
This entry was posted in Collaborations, Manufacturing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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NIST Technology Called Upon to Clean Up Chernobyl Disaster Site

A modified version of the RoboCrane®, a unique floating platform
developed by manufacturing research engineers at the National Institute
of Standards and Technology (NIST), will be helping cleanup operations
fly into action over the destroyed reactor number four at the former
Chernobyl nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine. PaR Systems, a
company based in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., owns a license to use the
computer-controlled roving tool platform in the area immediately
surrounding the exploded reactor core.

On April 26, 1986, a confluence of a variety of factors and errors
caused a massive power surge resulting in a core explosion at reactor
number four of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine in
the former Soviet Union. The core explosion released a plume of highly
radioactive material into the atmosphere and necessitated the evacuation
of nearly 340,000 people from the surrounding areas. The International
Atomic Energy Association and the World Health Organization state that
31 people died of injuries sustained during the explosion and estimate
that 4,000 additional cancer deaths may be attributable to the release
of radioactivity.

The G-7 countries, the European Commission, and the Ukraine
government decided to replace the hastily constructed “sarcophagus” that
presently covers the crater with a more robust shelter in 1997.
Construction on the shelter, which will house and support the tool
platform and other instruments related to the cleanup effort, began in
2006.

Developed at NIST in the 1990s, the Modular Suspended Manipulator,*
expands upon the principle of a Stewart platform, a device that uses
three sets of paired winches (motor-driven spools of cable) to suspend
and manipulate a platform with six degrees of freedom (lateral,
longitudinal, vertical, roll, pitch and yaw). Stewart platforms are most
familiar for their use as the base of flight simulators. (See the NIST
RoboCrane project summary at http://www.nist.gov/mel/isd/ms/robocrane.cfm.)

PaR extensively modified the nine cable version of the Modular
Suspended Manipulator to create a kind of mobile tool resembling a
pencil stuck through a slice of pizza. Cables are affixed to the top end
of the pencil, or spine, as well as the pizza, the triangular platform,
enabling the whole assembly to not only move freely through the air,
but also make complicated stylus-like motions. (Hold a pencil at its
midpoint with the point down between thumb and forefinger and place the
other forefinger on the eraser. Move the pen every which way to get an
idea of how the machine moves.) The design’s precision maneuverability
throughout a large space and ability to be outfitted with a large
variety of tools make it ideal for this type of application.

The company will affix a variety of interchangeable tools to the end
of the spine, including a robotic arm, drill, jackhammer, shear,
high-power vacuum system, and closed circuit television viewing system,
all of which will be operated remotely.

* J.S. Albus, R.V. Bostelman and A.S. Jacoff. Modular suspended manipulator. United States Patent No. 6,566,834, May 20, 2003.

Media Contact: Mark Esser, mark.esser@nist.gov, 301-975-8735

About Michael Baum

Reformed perl hacker. Ex-lyricist for Plasticine.
This entry was posted in Collaborations, Manufacturing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*