Modular manufacturing research at the Nuclear AMRC tackles the challenges of off-site modular production for large-scale complex systems.
Modular manufacturing involves the off-site fabrication of large-scale complex systems, which are then transported to site for final installation and assembly.
These techniques are already widely used in shipbuilding, aerospace and other safety-critical industries. In the nuclear sector, they can significantly reduce construction risk and help deliver new power stations to schedule and cost.
The Nuclear AMRC focuses on applying and developing modular manufacturing techniques for the production, assembly and maintenance of modules. We support technology developers in a variety of small modular reactor (SMR) and advanced modular reactor (AMR) programmes.
Our dedicated modules facility is hosted by Jacobs at Birchwood Park, Warrington. We offer a growing range of advanced facilities to meet industry needs, including a flexible modular demonstration platform.
Our services include:
- Support for plant and system designers to understand modular manufacturing principles.
- A systematic approach for grouping structures, systems and components into modules.
- Developing and proving modular manufacturing techniques for nuclear applications.
- Developing and testing techniques for module manufacturing and assembly, including portable machining and orbital welding.
- Supporting modular design development through prototyping and visualisation tools.
We are developing a through-life modularisation product structure – a systematic approach to the modularisation of complex assemblies, which can be used in the early design process and provide benefits throughout its service life. By considering factors such as design style, modules boundaries, interfacing methods and the degree of modularity required, we can reduce risk in manufacturing and construction, and simplify operations from installation to decommissioning.
For more information about our modularisation R&D capabilities, contact David Malley, senior research fellow.
Current equipment includes:
Modular demonstration platform
- Two demonstration modules providing a flexible platform for developing advanced technologies.
- Research focuses on identifying and resolving challenges in inter- and intra-module connections.
- Studies can address a module’s full life cycle, covering design, processing, transport and distribution, through usage to end of life.
Stratasys F270 3D printer
- Rapid prototyping to support the design process for modular assemblies.
- 305 x 254 x 305mm build volume.
- Four material spool bays – three for model and one for support.
- Visualise and interact with 3D models of designs through augmented and virtual reality.
- Allow better understanding of complex structures, identifying possible design flaws, and making real-time adjustments.
Capabilities under development include two fundamental design tools:
Principles of modular design process – to generate principles of modular design based on user requirements, product lifecycle and functional requirements of a new plant. Criteria could include size or mass limits to meet site or supply chain limitations, or ease of dismantling module interfaces.
Module clustering process – to generate modules by clustering structures, systems and components according to user requirements for layout and plant flow.
For full technical details of all our equipment and R&D capabilities, download the Nuclear AMRC capability directory (12 MB pdf).