BOA: Asbestos Pipe-Insulation Removal Robot System


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. The general configuration of the BOA pipe-crawler/boom vehicle system consists of an external pipe-crawling asbestos-removal robot, supported by a mobile boom vehicle used to seal and bag the removed asbestos and provide for crawler placement operations. Using the cooperation between a pipe-crawler and a mobile boom vehicle, allows the system to work on pipes from 8 feet to 60 feet above the ground. The system is capable of travel on pipes of various diameters (4 to 8 inch), handle in-line obstacles such as pipe-hangers, handle various pipe-materials such as carbon steel, stainless steel and copper, deal with varying types of insulation cladding, such as plaster-tape, aluminum lap- ping, wire-mesh, plastic boots and pipe-clamps, contend with inconsistent insulation thickness, and reduce fiberemissions to allowable levels while feeding removed ACM and lagging into a sealed bagging system. The removal of insulation is accomplished by using a similar approach to the insulation installation process. It consists of several tapered cutting blades and sharp rotating cutters, which are used to slice the asbestos insulation inter- nals and cut through the outside insulation-cladding. The asbestos is removed from the pipe by the driving action of the crawler, which pushes into and under the insulation and forces it against a tapered lead-out section underneath the crawler. CMU is developing the system for DOE's Morgantown Energy Technology Center over a two-year period, after which it will be demonstrated in a mock-up facility and ultimately delivered to DOE site contractors for use in their remediation activities. Plans are being made to extend the demonstration to a real DOE site such as Oak Ridge or Fernald.

We envision an operator-assisted deployment,,

as well as a robot-assisted deployment scenario:.