This is a guest post from Erica Simmons, Marketing Manager for Energy, Oil and Gas Industries at Siemens PLM Software
Siemens Avatars, EPRI Algorithms and the Microsoft Kinect for Windows system are transforming As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) Planning in the Nuclear Industry. What started out as an industry problem now has a creative and innovative solution thanks to the use of advanced technologies and the collaboration of the project team. When we joined the FIATECH industry association, our goal was to sit with industry to learn more about business challenges to which we could apply our technologies. We found that the FIATECH industry association gave us the ability to not only listen and learn but to also actively participate in projects with industry participants.
Upon joining the Operations and Maintenance working group at FIATECH, we started to work with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and nuclear ALARA planners in the USA on a software solution to address a previously manual and paper based ALARA planning process. Over the last two years, we found through attending meetings with EPRI, Fiatech and Nuclear Utility owners that our out of the box technology could most certainly be applied to this industry challenge. Over the year, we worked with Utilities to design and test an easy to use solution. After many collaborative and productive sessions, I am pleased to show you the fruits of our labor – the new Siemens ALARA planning application. What I really enjoyed most about this was working with our teams to think about different ways to solve the ALARA planning challenge. We were able to come up with a solution that integrated key product offerings – the Tecnomatix Human Simulation solution with Jack and/or Jill and our Process Simulate Solution. The integration of these two products gave us the ability to manipulate the avatar in the work environment and at the same time we could analyze the actual work process, including how long it took to perform the task. The icing on this preverbal cake was the EPRI Dose Algorithm. This allowed us to view radiation exposure by the avatar as it moved thru its work. This is the essence of the industry challenge – Accurately estimating dosing and or implementing other processes to minimize dose rates for maintenance procedures. We feel really good that we have something that will revolutionize this planning process taking it from paper to the 21st century!
I wanted to thank especially my Siemens ALARA Team for all the innovative work this includes Noam Ribon, our EPRI project manager. Noam worked closely in meeting with EPRI to understand their requirements. Victor Vainshtain was one of our software engineers on the project who came up with some really inventive and innovative ways to speed up the processing time for the simulations. Victors experience as a nuclear engineer was super valuable! Ulrich Raschke, our director of Human Products. Ulrich’s avatars are the real stars in this picture. They are the ones that go into the scene, do the simulated planning and take on the radiation to keep real humans from danger. Ulrich was also instrumental in his integration of the Microsoft Kinect for Windows system which I think will usher in a new generation of interactive maintenance planning what we are calling “Industrial Gaming”. And finally, Per Aberg who created our visual radiation heat maps in 2D and 3D and the ALARA reports which can be used to provide proof of improvements to worker dosing.
Erica is a marketing manager with the Siemens Industrial Software business unit with a focus on software for the Energy, Oil and Gas industries. In addition, she is an inventor, innovator and creative thinker who is fascinated and sees the world through rose colored science, technology, engineering and mathematics glasses.