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Tools to lift, tools to suspend, tools to transport, tools to assemble, tools to adjust ... over 100 custom devices are planned for the assembly phases of the ITER machine.
For major components—weighing hundreds of tonnes, with linear dimensions of up to 24 metres—the positioning tolerances are in the low-millimetre range. This subset of components includes the vacuum vessel sector assemblies, the poloidal field magnets, the central solenoid, and the cryostat. The most spectacular lifts are on the order of 1,250 tonnes.
Some of the largest tools that will be used during machine assembly are described in the text and gallery below.
The ITER bridge cranes: Two sets of bridge cranes installed at a height of 46 metres are the major lift and transport tools for delivering components from the Assembly Hall to the Tokamak Pit. The heavy-duty set (two 750-tonne cranes) can work together to lift loads of 1,500 tonnes—or the approximate weight of four jetliners. The system is complemented by two smaller 50-tonne auxiliary cranes. (Procured by Europe, operational)
The sector sub-assembly tools: Standing six storeys high in the Assembly Hall, the 800-tonne tools suspends the vacuum vessel sectors while carefully positioning and installing—via the rotary motion of the "wings"—thermal shield panels and two toroidal field coils. Actuators will permit the components to be positioned with the highest degree of accuracy (1.5 mm for the toroidal field coils) and adjusted to six degrees of freedom (up and down, side-to-side, forward and backward, swivel, tilt, and pivot). The completed "sector sub-assembly" to be transported to the Tokamak Pit weighs 1,200 tonnes. The operation must be carried out nine times (for nine vacuum vessel sectors). (Procured by Korea, operational)
The upending tool: The "upending frame" is used to raise two types of large components—vacuum vessel sectors (440 tonnes) and toroidal field coils (360 tonnes)—from their horizontal delivery configuration to vertical for subsequent installation on the sector sub-assembly tools. The "tilt" operation is carried out in coordination with the overhead cranes. (Procured by Korea, operational in 2020)
The in-pit assembly tool: Formed from a central column and nine radial beams, this tool is installed inside of the Tokamak Pit to support, align and stabilize vacuum vessel sub-assemblies as they are joined and welded. With the central column anchored to the Tokamak Building basemat and the radial beams supported between the column and the concrete bioshield, the in-pit assembly tool it is designed to support a nominal weight of 5,400 tonnes. (Procured by Korea, operational in 2020)
Cryostat installation and alignment tools: Purpose-built transportation and lifting tools have been design for the installation of each cryostat section (base, lower cylinder, upper cylinder, top lid). Once installed, the sections are brought into alignment with the Tokamak global coordinate system through hydraulic jacks. (Procured by the ITER Organization, operational for the base and lower cylinder in 2020)
Toroidal field coil alignment tool: The in-pit installation tool for toroidal field coil pairs moves the D-shaped superconducting coils a few millimetres along three axes and ensures their precise positioning inside of the Tokamak pit to within 1/10th of a millimetre. It also performs the final adjustment of the Tokamak's nine sectors. (Procured by the ITER Organization, operational in 2021
Poloidal field coil assembly tools: This group of tools includes, for each coil: a transportation frame, purpose-built survey tools, lifting adapters to interface with lifting beams, and installation tools and adjustable supports. (Procured by Korea)
Central solenoid tools: Assembly of the six central solenoid modules into an 18-metre-tall stack (including support structures) requires a dedicated space in the ITER Assembly Hall and specialized tooling including an assembly platform designed to support 1,300 tonnes and a module lifting fixture. (Procured by the US, operational in 2021)
In addition to this subset of large, specialized tools, assembly works contractors will design, manufacture and qualify a wide range of more standard tooling, generally for lifting and handling. The ITER Organization is also procuring a large array of tools and tooling systems, including the specialized handling tools that will be required during Phase II assembly.