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A giant's first steps



In Korea, manufacturing has begun for one of ITER's largest and most spectacular pieces of machinery: the first of a pair of 22-metre high, 860-ton Sector Sub-Assembly tools.

"The Sector Sub-Assembly tools are not only imposing in size, but they are actually complex systems, with a lot of sub-components, precision actuators and powerful hydraulic engines," says Hyung-Yeol Yang, ITER Korea's director for advanced technology research.

Standing shoulder to shoulder under the high ceiling of the Assembly Building, the Sector Sub-Assembly tools will suspend each of the nine vacuum vessel sectors in order to install toroidal field coils and thermal shielding. The resulting 1,200-ton sub-assemblies will be transferred to the Tokamak Complex and integrated into the machine.

On 15 February, the contractor Taekyung Heavy Industry commenced material cutting. The first of the twin Sector Sub-Assembly tools should be ready by October this year for a battery (six months) of factory acceptance tests, followed by delivery to ITER in mid-2017.

The twin giants are but the most spectacular of the 128 purpose-built assembly tools that Korea will procure for the ITER Project.


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