Automatic Handling Devices for Spherical Fuel Elements

From the THTR, Hamm - Uentrop, approx. 700,000 fuel element spheres had to be removed and transported away. The spheres were placed in cans holding approx. 2,000 spheres each. For transportation purposes, the cans had to be loaded into a special transport and storage tank.

The task of an automatic handling device was, under extremely cramped conditions to remove, by remote handling, the primary lid weighing approximately 2,000 kg, to replace it again after the insertion of the can and to tighten it with 28 screws in a defined sequence and in several rotations with different torques. Technically sophisticated solutions were necessary for finding the tank centre with a contactless sensor technology, determination of the exact screw position by means of an image-processing system developed specially for it, positioning of the axes accurate to 1/10 mm.

The automatic sequences were achieved with the help of an SPC control system and a computer coupled to it was used for visualization and data management. 

Technical characteristics:

Number of axes: 17
Carrying power of the transfer carriage: 30.000 kg
Carrying power of the lid gripper: 3.000 kg
Torque of screw-driver: 3.000 Nm
Driving equipment: servo drives, hydraulic system with
asynchronous motors
Sensor equipment: resolvers, analog sensors, pipe
camera, linear potentiometer


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German Version