Meeting with Orano at #WNE2018

Although I’m quite a regular at marketing and technology events, on June 27, 2018 I was invited to meet the innovation team atNot now (formerly AREVA) at the World Nuclear Exhibition. Unsurprisingly, this is the nuclear show where you’ll find booths you’d never see otherwise, suits straight out of sci-fi movies, or drones and robots like the kind we see everywhere these days.

We talk a lot about nuclear energy in France and in Europe, and the subject sometimes inspires passion. My goal is not to participate in a debate that is beyond my capabilities, but to be interested in the innovation logic of a group of more than 16,000 employees.

As was explained to me Nathalie CollignonFor , Director of Innovation at Orano, innovation is part of their heritage and DNA. With more than twenty specialties ranging from nuclear physics to chemistry, they are constantly thinking about the future of their activity. Her topics include accelerating innovation cycles in relation to products, customer needs and security issues.

On the product side, they are making great strides, especially in the medical field, combining biotechnologies and radioactive sources to treat cancer. The goal ? Develop a targeted treatment to prevent killing cells surrounding the area affected by the disease. Acceleration also occurs through an ecosystem of start-ups, with the launch of “Orano Innovation PME” three years ago or through the integration of the TOTAL Factory 4.0 incubator.

Understanding that transformation also affects people and the state of mind, Orano has trained its teams in agile methodologies, conducted in-depth acculturation work, and worked to make innovation everyone’s business. I know the subject is complicated as this innovation is mostly done in operational factories.

And this last point brings us to the experience in virtual reality which I have conducted with the aim of leading a “polar bridge”. Kezako, will you tell me? A polar bridge is a type of large crane (or transhipment bridge) located under the dome of the reactor building of a nuclear power plant. This bridge can only be used when the factory is closed, meaning the people responsible for using it can’t really train to use it.

Hence the idea of ​​reproducing the environment in virtual reality to train operators, build together and prepare interventions, as shown in the video below.

Now let’s talk about augmented reality, because Orano is not content with just testing this technology, but has already integrated it into the daily life of the maintenance staff.

They have therefore collaborated with the startup Diota to develop a hardware detection application usable on tablets and to facilitate the verification of checkpoints, as in the tweet below with a tank.

In addition, Orano deals with topics related to artificial intelligence, IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) with the LoRa network and with drones to be able to operate in restricted areas without exposing employees to unnecessary doses of radiation.

In conclusion, I appreciate the discovery of concrete and hands-on experiences in VR and AR and I thank Orano and especially its Innovation Director Nathalie Collignon for the time they kindly gave me.

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