The RACE team has more than 35,000 hours of operational experience supporting the world leading fusion science program.
This bespoke system is the archetype for the remote maintenance for future fusion reactors.
Two snake-like booms reach into the vacuum vessels to deliver the remote operator’s hands and eyes.
The ‘master-slave’ manipulator allows the operator to feel every action and over the years JET’s RHS operators have become highly skilled at the most dextrous tasks.
This is like precision robotic surgery conducted on the engineering equivalent of a beating heart.
In one major refurbishment project the robots were used for 18 months, two shifts a day, to replace the entire ‘first wall’ of the reactor.
This involved developing more than 350 new tools to remove and replace more than 7,000 components.
All of this is done using cameras – no direct viewing is possible. JET shows the power of virtual reality software and will over the coming years be updated with more advanced augmented reality software that combines real and virtual information to increase the operator’s situational awareness.
When the cost of dropping or damaging a component is measured in £millions it is important to prepare thoroughly and think before acting.
This is what we do every day.
Our operations team has developed a complete management system that controls the flow of “materiel” into and out of the vacuum vessel. These are irradiated, tritiated components that may also be contaminated with harmful materials such as Beryllium.
For more information please visit www.euro-fusion.org