US-based Holtec International has announced the deployment of a portable robotic welder, HI-BRIAN, which is designed to drastically reduce the dose to the loading crew during multi-purpose canister (MPC) shell-to-lid welding.
To date, three of Holtec’s MPC-89s have been welded using the HI-BRIAN welder at a client site.
A key benefit of HI-BRIAN, Holtec said, includes hardening the closure weld against vulnerabilities such as stress corrosion cracking, by precisely controlling parameters like heat input and travel speed, and providing flexibility to deal with groove geometry variations.
"HI-BRIAN makes machine-precision repeatable welds of high integrity while greatly reducing the radiation dose sustained by the loading crew," it added.
The robot is named after its inventor, Brian Farnsworth. It is the first industrial robot to emerge from Holtec’s robotics programme, which was launched in 2019 to develop special-purpose robots to minimise human factors from high risk tasks at manufacturing and site services undertakings.
“This programme is especially important to our dry storage and decommissioning projects where minimising radiation dose, reducing heavy load handling operations, safety of the workers, and protection of public health and safety and the environment are our primary objectives,” Holtec noted.
The innovative features of the portable robot are subject to patent protection.
Photo: HI-BRIAN welding (Credit: Holtec International)