The Texas A&M Center for Applied Technology (TCAT) recently completed development of a proof-of-concept facility and asset lifecycle management software tool for Pantex. In 2019, TCAT was approached by senior officials from Pantex and Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (CNS) as part of the Plant Directed Research and Development (PDRD) program seeking assistance with facility data and technology integration. CNS manages and operates the Texas-based Pantex facility along with the Y-12 National Security Complex located in Tennessee.
The initiative is part of a broader endeavor by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to support digital transformation, configuration management and digital engineering of facility and asset data. The NNSA’s goal is to increase sustainability, enhance efficiency and minimize down time at facilities and National Labs.
TCAT engaged key CNS stakeholders at Pantex to fully understand their current and potential operational needs and goals in transitioning to a digital lifecycle management system. Meetings and workshops identified the targeted data and required capabilities for the platform. TCAT developed concept storyboards and electronic mock-ups that demonstrated the concept and benefits of developing a tool. “The key difference with this platform and existing practices is that it presents critical, interrelated, and context specific information to end-users, in one place and in real time to support their decision-making needs,” commented TCAT Director, Dr. Keith Biggers. “It elevates raw data into more actionable information,” Biggers added, “enabling management and dissemination of key information and knowledge for a shared understanding across the plant.”
The platform incorporates raw data from authoritative data sources, and transforms that data into visual analytics for use across different functional areas of the plant. The platform also allows for more efficient electronic workflow processes to meet or exceed compliance and safety standards.
Now that delivery of Phase 1 is complete the team is working with CNS and Pantex to develop a technology roadmap for transition and implementation of the system.
The Texas A&M Center for Applied Technology (TCAT) pursues enterprising research projects that fulfill client needs while inserting new technologies into society that promote economic growth and an improved quality of life. The TCAT team encompasses a wide array of experience, and through utilization of a unique mix of knowledge and skills, can span interdisciplinary boundaries and couple its research strengths with proven capabilities and capacity to accomplish targeted challenges.
Pantex is one of six production facilities in the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Nuclear Security Enterprise. As the cornerstone of the nation’s Nuclear Security Enterprise, Pantex applies unique capabilities to ensure the effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear stockpile in support of the Nation’s nuclear deterrent. Pantex accomplishes this through executing nuclear explosive assembly and disassembly, special nuclear material testing and evaluations, and manufacturing and assessing high explosives at our historic site. Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC manages and operates the facility along with the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee under a single contract from the U.S. Department of Energy/NNSA.