Guest post by WSU Senior Project Team
As a senior project for their engineering class, a team of WSU students is designing and developing a cart for use in AREVA’s nuclear fuel manufacturing facilities in Richland, Wash. This is the third blog post in a series tracking their progress.
As we begin our second semester, we are making good progress from where we left off last year. Our goal continues to be improving the safety and functionality of AREVA’s NAF Pellet Transfer Cart at the Richland site. After some difficult design issues, we finalized our work to reach the 100 percent design stage by the end of January.
After modeling, analyzing, and revising our design, we learned that this project must be a close collaborative effort by the entire team. We discovered it was difficult having different team members draft components separately and then combining those components into one model without dimensional or alignment issues. Even though many of the misalignments were minimal and these issues were quickly fixed, this was still an issue we failed to foresee during our planning. Our attention now is on the smaller components, such as handles, gears, clips, and bolts, and other mechanical items that secure the pellet boats inside the cart during transfers.
Our main focus is to make sure that AREVA, our customer, is satisfied with our final design. Seeking and receiving regular feedback has been vital to successfully developing a final concept. Simplicity is one of the most important aspects in the new NAF Transfer Cart design, which is why we designed the cart to be easily maintained with off-the-shelf parts. In the end, our goal is to make sure this cart is simple to use and easy to maintain, while at the same time performs all of the required tasks safely and effectively.
Once we close any remaining concerns or design issues, we plan to start purchasing materials and finding a qualified fabricator.