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Developing a hot-water drill system for the WISSARD project: 3. Instrumentation and control systems
Authors: Burnett J, Rack F, Blythe D, Swanson P, Duling D, Gibson D, Carpenter C, Roberts G, Lemery J, Fischbein S, Melby A
Year: 2014
Keywords: Antarctic glaciology, glaciological instruments and methods, subglacial lakes, subglacial processes, subglacial sediments
Periodical/Journal: Annals of Glaciology
Volume: 55
Number: 68
Page Range: 303-310

The WISSARD (Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling) traversable hot- water drill system was designed to create various-diameter ice boreholes to a depth of >800 m, with most major components being controllable from a single user interface. The drill control system operates four low-pressure pumps for water generation and circulation, two hot-water generation units containing a total of six diesel burner modules with integrated high-pressure pumps, three winches (one with independent level-wind motor), a four-motor linear traction drive, and a large number of analog and digital sensors to monitor system performance and cleanliness. Due to development time constraints the control system design focused on utilizing commercial off-the-shelf components, while being highly modular, easily expandable and rapidly deployable. Additional emphasis was placed on providing redundant manual operator controls and maintaining a low degree of system automation to avoid dependence on software control loops for first-season deployment. The result of this design paradigm was a control system that was taken from concept to full operation in <6 months, successfully performing in the field without insurmountable problems.

DOI: 10.3189/2014AoG68A039
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