A robot called Lyra is helping transform nuclear infrastructure inspection

Lyra was untethered, but did incorporate a winch retrieval mechanism, which could be used to drag Lyra back to an access point in the event of a loss of power, or to shift it off rubble if it became beached. An independent, remote reset was also incorporated onto Lyra. This was a wireless device that enabled Lyra to perform a ‘hard reset’ if necessary.

The Deployment

The deployment of Lyra was completed in partnership with the operations team at DSRL and the figure below shows an image of the access port, within containment, that Lyra was deployed through. The frame that is being inserted provides additional cameras, lighting and back-up communications.

Following the successful deployment of Lyra, DSRL Project Manager Jason Simpson said: “DSRL is greatly indebted to the team from The University of Manchester, their efforts coupled with that of FIS360 Managing Director Frank Allison have clearly demonstrated the substantial benefits to be gained through collaborative working with the supply chain. Now that the characterisation survey is complete, we have built up a comprehensive picture of the duct which will help us make informed decisions on how the duct will be decommissioned going forward.

“Although it is recognised that the incentives to succeed differed for all parties, the enthusiasm and commitment from Frank Allison, Barry Lennox, Matthew Nancekievill, Keir Groves and the rest of the team at Manchester, ensured our objectives ultimately aligned to culminate in the successful deployment and data capture witnessed via Lyra.”

RAIN Hub Director Barry Lennox added: “We wanted to demonstrate that the robot could be used successfully in active areas. We added fail safe devices, including a remote “reboot” switch, and a winch to enable us to physically retrieve the robot if it got stuck on the debris in the duct. The survey has demonstrated Lyra’s reliability in active areas.”

The deployment was supported by innovation and technology transfer specialists, FIS360. Their Managing Director, Frank Allison said: “The development and deployment of Lyra highlights the benefits that robotics technology offers the nuclear industry and the importance of academia, end-users and businesses in the supply chain working together. It is only through collaborative working, like this, that solutions can be developed for complex challenges, such as surveying the Dounreay duct.”

The research team are grateful for the use of the Lyra robot, which was made available for this work through the NNUF Hot Robotics Programme.

The Lyra robot is one example of mobile robotic platforms designed for inspection of hazardous environments and is commercially available through Ice Nine Ltd

For further information regarding this work, please see:







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