Applying principles of design for assembly to ITER maintenance operations


In ITER, maintenance operations in the vessel and in the Hot Cell will be largely done by Remote Handling (RH). Remotely performed maintenance actions tend to be more time-costly than actions performed by direct human access. With a human operator in the control loop and adequate situational feedback, a two-armed master slave manipulator system can mimic direct access with dexterous manipulation, tactile feedback and vision. But even then, turnaround times are still very high. Adapting the design for simplified maintenance operations can yield significant time savings. One of the methods known to produce a simpler, more robust design, which is also better suited for handling with robots, is Design For Assembly (DFA).

This paper discusses whether and how the principles of DFA can be applied to simplify maintenance operations for ITER. While DFA is normally used with series-production and ITER is a unique product, it is possible to apply the principles of DFA to ITER maintenance operations. Furthermore, DFA’s principles can be applied at different abstraction levels. Combining principles of DFA with Virtual Reality leads to new insights and provides additional value.