A partner for innovation - tharsus

Remote Maintenance Systems

A partner for innovation

Remote Maintenance Systems

A partner for innovation

The Search for a Gamechanger for Sellafield

Sellafield, the UK’s largest nuclear power plant has the toughest task of its career ahead of it.  A long term decommissioning rollout, due to begin by 2023, will see the plant’s 170 individual nuclear facilities decommissioned at an estimated cost of £85 billion.

These facilities are a diverse collection of buildings and structures containing highly complex systems of pipes and structural steel.  Add to this, very limited access, and then of course the presence of hazardous nuclear waste, Sellafield’s operator realised early on that decommissioning by human hand would be extremely time consuming, not to mention extremely dangerous.

Seeking innovative solutions to the problem, they launched their Game Changers programme to fund organisations with a strong idea to proof of concept stage. One such is start up Remote Maintenance Systems (RMS).

Testing the prototype RMS system on a specially constructed rig at Tharsus Deploying the system via the specially made test rig at Tharsus

Introducing MTDS

Game changers funded development of RMS’ Modular Tube Deployment System (MTDS). A unique and sophisticated system which will completely solve these problems enabling fast, robust rollout of cheaper decommissioning while keeping human operatives safely out of harm.

The MTDS is a flexible modular solution that can reach different areas within a hazardous environment via an entry point in the roof.  Tools and equipment (up to 5kg in mass) can then be deployed into these areas via it, while the operator remains safely outside.

It is made up of tubes and joints, connected together in a series, which are assembled outside the hazardous area before entering it using an integral deployment system.   Flexibility of reach within the area is achieved via joints which allow +/- 30 degrees of articulation in 10 degree increments.  It is infinitely and easily adaptable.

"We saw Tharsus had a culture and ethos which matched our own with a real collaborative emphasis on achieving the goal together and a genuine care for making the product a success"

Robert Sharratt, MD and Founder, RMS

Flexible in Design and Application

Inherent flexibility by design means the MTDS is suitable for use in many other hazardous industries where access is limited such as Oil and Gas, Offshore and Process Plant.

Tharsus- a Partner to Inspire Confidence

With the design for MTDS complete, RMS needed a partner to work with them to physically realise it, test its capabilities and support them on their journey to a live demonstration onsite at Sellafield.

From RMS perspective, as a newly formed start up, they saw Tharsus as an ideal partner to contract with to deliver this.

We had the existing capability, facilities, processes and supply chain to enable RMS to progress the project quickly, accurately and on time.

They knew how flexibility, honesty and open communication play a crucial role in developing early stage innovative technologies and knew of our reputation for wrapping relationships with customers around them.

And our knowledge and experience of turning innovative ideas into commercial reality would not only greatly increase development velocity, but also give RMS clients and investors confidence that success in a challenge of this scale is achievable.

Success Delivered

Our partnership delivered two phases.  The first, design and testing of the key components of the system, a crucial part of which was our experience of working with a highly specialist metal 3D printer, and our design for manufacture capability in complex components.

The second phase saw the manufacture of the full system completed and extensive testing take place using a specially constructed 5m test rig within our facility to optimise it for a formal demonstration on site at Sellafield.

Our Partnership Continues

The next phase will see the system evolve from a proof of concept to first of a kind product, ready for live on-site trials.   As well as further nuancing of the physical design, software for path determination will be added and a system of cameras developed which will give greater visibility of the work area and improve operability and effectiveness.

Case study overview

  • RMS sought a partner to take their game changing design to a physical reality fit for live demonstration.
  • The Tharsus team, with aligned culture and sharp focus on outcome shared with RMS, delivered the people, skills, experience and tech needed to tackle this crucial early stage work, and achieve success.
  • Complex, high risk early stage development carried out quickly and to a hight standard.

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