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ATS partners with Conestoga College on automation training for nuclear plant


February 25, 2020
By Kristina Urquhart
Kristina Urquhart

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ATS Automation Tooling Systems is partnering with Kitchener, Ontario’s Conestoga College on a new project that will supply automation equipment to the refurbishment of a nuclear power plant.

The new collaboration agreement builds on a long-standing research and development relationship between ATS and Conestoga’s SMART (Smart Manufacturing and Advanced Recycling Technologies) Centre.

“Advancing the possibilities of automation control through simulation and visualization within our products, tooling solutions and processes is crucial to helping our customers achieve the highest level of performance,” says Udo Panenka, president of mobility, nuclear and specialty automation at ATS, in a statement.

The partners will focus initially on adopting AR/VR enhancements to improve human performance and worker efficiency during the training, maintenance and support of ATS tooling used in the Bruce Power Major Component Replacement (MCR) program.

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Bruce Power’s MCR program involves the refurbishment of six nuclear reactors and will enable the nuclear power plant to deliver clean and reliable energy for Ontario for the next four decades.

ATS supports the program by designing and supplying all of the automation equipment required to remove the irradiated reactor components including the fuel channels, calandria tubes and calandria tube inserts.

Reactor component removal tooling has been designed to maximize safety during the removal process while optimizing operational resources.

Testing of the technology will leverage the MCR Integration Facility, which is a state-of-the-art automation testing site at ATS Cambridge, purposely built for the Bruce Power MCR program.

“Applied research with industry partners is a cornerstone of polytechnic education,” says John Tibbits, Conestoga president. “Conestoga’s long-standing collaboration with ATS continues to yield tremendous benefits, advancing innovation to address business needs while providing valuable learning and development opportunities for students and faculty alike.”

The collaboration is funded by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), through its College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program.