Controls and instrumentation research at the Nuclear AMRC focuses on developing and applying digital technologies which can deliver real value in nuclear applications.
Based in dedicated workshops at the Nuclear AMRC Midlands facility in Derby, our digital C&I group aim to build capability and capacity for UK businesses in all parts of the nuclear market and other highly-regulated industries. Applications include:
- Meeting the requirements of new build projects.
- Supporting the digitalisation of controls and instrumentation for new fission and fusion reactors designs.
- Helping operational plant with digital transformation.
- Developing innovative sensors, instruments and monitoring techniques for advanced reactors, decommissioning and long-term waste storage.
- Digital tracking and management of high-value assets in transportation, operation, maintenance and storage.
Our engineers have extensive expertise in advanced sensing and monitoring technologies which bridge the physical world and virtual environment, supporting through-life engineering services in the nuclear sector and beyond.
Core research areas include:
- Sensing technology – developing advanced sensors and electronic devices for condition monitoring, structural health monitoring, and prognostic health monitoring for in-process manufacturing, asset management, logistic management, operations and maintenance. In an early project, we worked with Sellafield Ltd to develop a smart sensing system for wireless monitoring of long-term waste storage containers.
- Industrial control systems – supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), distributed control systems, programmable logic controllers, and human-machine interface technologies combined with cyber security measure for safety-critical controls in most industrial applications.
- Digital manufacturing – working with digital engineering specialists from our simulation & verification group to apply industrial internet of things (IoT) and visualisation technologies for in-process monitoring, predictive maintenance, asset tagging and tracking, and the integration of cyber-physical systems with machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques.
We focus on bringing technologies through the challenging middle stages of technology development, moving from proof of concept towards production readiness. Typical development projects include:
- Prototype electronics – design, verification and validation, with fabrication on customised printed circuit boards using proven components.
- Smart low-power sensors – deployment and systemised engineering solutions.
- Industrial control systems and wireless network control.
- IoT architecture – digital innovation, technology maturity and market readiness in manufacturing.
For more information, contact Dr Li Li, Nuclear AMRC head of controls & instrumentation.
C&I laboratory equipment
We continue to invest in new capabilities at our research and testing laboratory in Derby to meet industry requirements. Our current equipment includes:
- Rohde & Schwarz RTM3004 digital oscilloscope
- Vector network analyser (ZNLE6)
- R&S FPL1003-P4 spectrum analyser
- Keithley 6517B/E bench digital multimeter
- Tektronix AFG31252 function generator and counter
- Voltera V-One desktop PCB printer
- BotFactory SV2 PCB printer
- GW-V400LT/DSA5-10K electrodynamic vibration test system
Additive manufacturing equipment includes:
- Neotech AMT PJ15X – rapid prototyping system for 3D printed electronics, combining multiple printing technology with 5-axis motion control and a range of print and processing tools.
- Desktop Metal Studio System – rapid prototyping for complex parts in a range of steels including 316L stainless, plus other metals and composite materials.
- Stratasys F370 – advanced rapid prototyping in a range of materials including carbon fibre, ABS and elastomer.
- Formlabs Form 2 / Form 3 – industrial-quality stereolithography (SLA) in a range of resins.
For full technical details of all our equipment and R&D capabilities, download the Nuclear AMRC capability directory (12 MB pdf).