IDS case study: handle with care

Robot-assisted system with Ensenso 3D camera for safe handling of nuclear waste

The decommissioning of nuclear facilities poses major challenges for operators. Whether dismantling or safe enclosure: the amount of nuclear waste to be disposed of is growing at an overwhelming rate worldwide. Automation is increasingly required in the handling of nuclear waste.

For safety reasons, the nuclear industry relies on remote-controlled industrial robots instead of fully autonomous robotic control methods. However, complex tasks in this dangerous environment can only be mastered to a limited extent so far.

The National Centre for Nuclear Robotics, led by the Extreme Robotics Lab at the University of Birmingham in the UK, is currently researching automated handling options for sorting and separating nuclear waste. The robotic assistance system developed there enables 'shared' control to perform complex manipulation tasks through haptic feedback and image information provided by an Ensenso 3D camera. This allows the operator to maintain control over the robot's automated actions at all times and to intervene if system failures occur.