Development of an end-effector system for autonomous spraying applications and radiation surveying

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This thesis presents the design and testing of a scale proof-of-concept prototype end-effector system for autonomous shotcrete application and radiation surveying in underground uranium mining environments. The prototype end-effector system presented consists of two functionally distinct prototype tools that achieve the independent tasks of autonomous shotcrete spray pattern control and surface radiation surveying. The work of this thesis is part of a joint project known as the Mobile Autonomous Scanning and Shotcreting (MASS) robot that is currently under development at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in cooperation with Cameco Corporation. The MASS robot is a mobile manipulator system capable of autonomously facilitating the application of spray-able concrete (shotcrete) for excavation support and conducting remote radiological surveys of surfaces in hazardous underground mining and tunneling environments. The first prototype tool presented is a novel, robotic shotcrete spraying tool that is capable of autonomously maintaining and adjusting its circular spray pattern diameter on target surfaces in response to changes in target surface distance. Control algorithms are presented that give the robotic shotcrete spraying tool the capability to produces advanced figure eight and spiral spraying patterns for surface preparation applications that involve spot filling deep surface cracks and pockets. Physical testing of the prototype tool empirically verified its ability to maintain circular spray pattern diameters at various target distances and demonstrated the application potential of the advanced figure eight and spiral spraying patterns. The second prototype tool presented is a Geiger Muller tube based radiation detection tool that uses shielding and a single hole collimator in combination with precise robotic positioning in order to capture localized radiation measurements of surfaces within radiation rich environments. Physical testing of the prototype tool demonstrated its ability to create radiation survey profiles that distinctly characterized the radiological profile of test target surfaces embedded with various radioactive sources.
Shotcrete, Nutation, Radiation, Surveying, Autonomous