– US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE) –
Hazardous Waste Tracking and Management
with PenFact’s XMD Software Protects Environment
Using PenFact’s XMD software, the US Department of Energy* (DOE) tracks nuclear hazardous waste materials at its Savannah River Site. Because of the inherent dangers to the environment, including the river and watershed, it is critical that every container in this seven square mile facility has its location its location, contents, volume, and time at the facility accurately tracked. To prevent contamination, some containers must be destroyed or removed after only a short time within the facility.
Functions the operators track with PenFact’s XMD software include:
• Receiving containers into the facility
• Moving containers to a new location
• Shipping containers from the facility
• Inspecting the appearance of containers using pre-defined condition codes
• Performing a “cycle count” - verifying the physical inventory
• Container location
DOE chose PenFact’s XMD software because it is easy to use - it conforms to the operators' work procedures - they do not have to conform their work to the software - and because PenFact’s XMD software is a cost effective alternative to major inventory tracking systems.
PenFact used these key technologies to help the Department of Energy automate the tracking of its hazardous waste containers:
• Portable, pen-based data collection computers
• Bar code scanners
• Wireless, Radio-Frequency (RF) network
• Microsoft Windows Operating System
• Standard ODBC database
Bar codes were put on each container that, with PenFact’s XMD software, allows quick and easy scanning of waste container IDs and locations into the hand-held units for instant transmittal to the central (Access) database. Using the hand-held units, the operators inspect and track the receiving, movement, and shipping of waste containers. The portable hand-held units use pen, touch screen, numeric keypad, and a bar code scanner for data input. Where bar code labels exist, operators scan the information directly into the unit. When no labels exist, they use the virtual keyboard to "type" or they write directly on the screen.
The hand-held units, and the PC which acts as a server for these units, contain radio-frequency network cards. With wireless RF networking, users can access the database from anywhere within their section. The RF network allows workers to transmit their data from the field without having to return to the main building. Operators literally transmit their data with the push of a single button. If they happen to be outside the range of the wireless network (they will sometimes go to other areas of the site), PenFact’s XMD software queues up their transactions and transmits them upon return to the area. This architecture ensures that the operators can always continue working, regardless of their location or the state of the wireless network.
Not only is the PenFact’s XMD software system easy to use, but it provides accurate and timely information. PenFact’s XMD software accesses the database so users can view information and print reports. In addition to the reporting modules available from PenFact, users can generate and easily modify custom reports.
With PenFact’s XMD software, the Department of Energy has the oversight it needs into its waste container inventory. It knows the location of each container, when it was received, and the type and quantity of the waste it contains. This saves the Department of Energy time and money when it must move a container, and helps it meet strict safety standards governing storage, maintenance, shipping and destruction of these hazardous materials before they irreparably damage the environment.
In addition, the entire XMD system has passed US DOE standards for Nuclear Process Validation.
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