A new Automation/Mechatronics working group has been formed at ANSTO to share knowledge and experience of how technological advancements can further benefit the organisation, its partners and collaborators.
CEO Ad Paterson has strongly encouraged the many diverse areas of ANSTO to better understand how innovative automation and advancements in robotics can make operations more efficient, effective and safe.
“The whole point is to provide the opportunity for individuals to share useful information that they alone might have in their head, or to seek input on technical challenges they are facing. The information might be helpful to others or prevent us from all trying to solve the same problem,” he added.
Representatives from all campuses attended the inaugural meeting, which included presentations by Ben Bigrigg of Engineering and Capital programs and ANSTO graduate Brad Boundy.
At the present time, the Engineering and Capital Programs team is looking at scaling up production of Lutetium-177, in anticipation of an increase in demand for the therapeutic radioisotope at the conclusion of clinical trials.
“There is the possibility of an automation component in the dispensing system,” said Boundy.
Other advancements, such as automation of the dilution process for quality control and a robotic arm with a camera to access hard-to-reach places, are under consideration.
According to Bigrigg, both automation and robotics have a significant role in the new ANSTO Synroc waste treatment facility for nuclear medicine production, which is currently under construction.
From its single-button start-up and shutdown to a seamless operating interface, the entire plant is fully automated.
This means operators are situationally aware of the condition of the process from a centralised control room and have minimal manual tasks associated with operating the plant.
The plant has been designed to maximise automation, operability, systems integration and to protect personnel and processes.