Carnegie Mellon University
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Asbestos Pipe-Insulation Removal Robot System (BOA)
This project is no longer active.
Head: John Bares and Hagen Schempf
Contact: Hagen Schempf
Mailing address:
Carnegie Mellon University
Robotics Institute
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Associated center(s) / consortia:
 Field Robotics Center (FRC)
Project Homepage
Most of the steam and process-piping in DOE facilities is cladded and insulated with asbestos containing materials (ACMs) which will have to be removed before any decontamination and dismantling (D&D) activity. Due to the carcinogenic nature of asbestos flyings and radiological contamination, and abatement regulations from the EPA and OSHA, manual removal is estimated to be rather costly and lengthy. Current methods require substantial infrastructure in terms of scaffolding, containment areas, and air monitoring, resulting in low levels of removal efficiency. A mechanical removal system, dubbed BOA, is being developed, which can be remotely emplaced and is able to crawl on the outside of different-sized pipe to allow complete removal of lagging and insulation while wetting the ACM and encapsulating the stripped pipe, and bagging the removed insulation in-situ. Careful attention to vacuum and entrapment air flow will ensure that the system is able to operate without a containment area while meeting local and federal fiber-count standards. Current plans are to target process piping ranging in diameter from 4 to 8 inches in OD. The advantages of this system are to be seen in the areas of (i)increased material removal efficiency, (ii) reduction in required abatement personnel, (iii) fully contained and sealed operations, and (iv) removal & packaging for easy processing/disposal.