Scottish Nuclear is currently upgrading its Gas Baffle Inspection Manipulator (GBIM); with UK Robotics to supply the new robotics controller in a contract worth almost £100 000. The GBIM, a robot which carries out in- service inspections of nuclear reactors for Scottish Nuclear, is 7m long, comprising eight hydraulically driven joints controlled by a manual hand wheel arrangement. Not surprisingly, this robot is unwieldy and time consuming to operate.

Main contractor, Strachan Henshaw, is replacing the GBIM’s manual hydraulic system with a servo driven one, whilst also adding an earth leakage collision detection system. Despite strong competition, UK Robotics was chosen to develop an electronic control system to drive the robot based on it ATC family of advanced controllers.

Scottish Nuclear is specifying a completely different operator interface for the new system. Unusually, the controller will also feature a separate validation computer which will allow the GBIM a slightly wider working envelope than the control computer, so that if a slight deviation occurs, it prevents the GBIM from driving to protect against causing a collision. Integral to the system is data logging, so there will be a comprehensive record of all the paths the manipulator has followed. An interface to IGRIP will allow the operator to view a simulation of exactly what the robot is doing from any angle, while UK Robotics new graphical mimic will provide similar reassurance.