Custom Measuring Tool

Innovation, Productivity, Cost savings

Problem: A nuclear utility customer needs to perform periodic maintenance and inspections on their reactors. During normal operation, fuel channel assemblies grow in length (called “creep”) from the influence of high temperatures, pressures, and radiation on the alloy fuel channel material. Not all fuel channels grow at the same rate, due to their position in the reactor. As a result of this differential growth, mating pipes (called “feeders”) change their position relative to each other over time.

To manage this phenomenon (and for other reasons), the utility needs to make periodic adjustments to the fuel channel positions. This involves taking measurements, making assessments, and in some cases, cutting, shifting, and re-welding the fuel channels in new positions.

Previously, measurements were painstakingly taken with a combination of measuring devices and go/no-go gauges. This took a significant amount of time. Since the work was in a high dose environment (thus requiring many workers to share the dose) and often on the critical path of the outage, it was very costly to perform.

Solution: To speed up the work and improve the quality of the results, Davros proposed an all-in-one laser-based measuring tool to take the measurements. It combined two distance-measuring lasers, an LVDT, and two cameras, into one tool. Rather than taking measurements manually and reporting them back to the control room over the headset one at a time, this tool automatically reported the results back to the control room real-time over the network, where they were reviewed and analyzed.

This proved to be a faster and more accurate way to take the necessary measurements, providing the utility with significant cost savings.



Posted on

February 7, 2017