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Title: Automated design synthesis of robotic/human workcells for improved manufacturing system design in hazardous environments

Manufacturing tasks that are deemed too hazardous for workers require the use of automation, robotics, and/or other remote handling tools. The associated hazards may be radiological or nonradiological, and based on the characteristics of the environment and processing, a design may necessitate robotic labor, human labor, or both. There are also other factors such as cost, ergonomics, maintenance, and efficiency that also effect task allocation and other design choices. Handling the tradeoffs of these factors can be complex, and lack of experience can be an issue when trying to determine if and what feasible automation/robotics options exist. To address this problem, we utilize common engineering design approaches adapted more for manufacturing system design in hazardous environments. We limit our scope to the conceptual and embodiment design stages, specifically a computational algorithm for concept generation and early design evaluation. In regard to concept generation, we first develop the functional model or function structure for the process, using the common 'verb-noun' format for describing function. A common language or functional basis for manufacturing was developed and utilized to formalize function descriptions and guide rules for function decomposition. Potential components for embodiment are also grouped in terms of this functional language and aremore » stored in a database. The properties of each component are given as quantitative and qualitative criteria. Operators are also rated for task-relevant criteria which are used to address task compatibility. Through the gathering of process requirements/constraints, construction of the component database, and development of the manufacturing basis and rule set, design knowledge is stored and available for computer use. Thus, once the higher level process functions are defined, the computer can automate the synthesis of new design concepts through alternating steps of embodiment and function structure updates/decomposition. In the process, criteria guide function allocation of components/operators and help ensure compatibility and feasibility. Through multiple function assignment options and varied function structures, multiple design concepts are created. All of the generated designs are then evaluated based on a number of relevant evaluation criteria: cost, dose, ergonomics, hazards, efficiency, etc. These criteria are computed using physical properties/parameters of each system based on the qualities an engineer would use to make evaluations. Nuclear processes such as oxide conversion and electrorefining are utilized to aid algorithm development and provide test cases for the completed program. Through our approach, we capture design knowledge related to manufacturing and other operations in hazardous environments to enable a computational program to automatically generate and evaluate system design concepts.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Laboratory
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1043512
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-12-22106
TRN: US201214%%138
DOE Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)
Sponsoring Org:
DOE/LANL
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
42 ENGINEERING; ALGORITHMS; AUTOMATION; COMPATIBILITY; COMPUTERS; CONSTRUCTION; DESIGN; EFFICIENCY; ELECTROREFINING; ENGINEERS; EVALUATION; FUNCTIONAL MODELS; FUNCTIONALS; HUMAN FACTORS ENGINEERING; MAINTENANCE; MANUFACTURING; OXIDES; PROCESSING; REMOTE HANDLING; SYNTHESIS