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Latest ITER Newsline

  • Cryoplant | Filled from floor to ceiling

    The ITER cryoplant used to be a vast echoey chamber with 5,400 m² of interior space divided into two areas; now, it is filled from floor to ceiling with industr [...]

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  • Cryostat | Adjusting, welding, testing ...

    The assembly of the ITER cryostat—the stainless steel "thermos" that insulates the ultra-cold superconducting magnets from the environment—is progress [...]

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  • Tokamak Building | Full steam ahead

    In this central arena of the construction site, construction teams are active three shifts a day—two full work shifts and a third, at night, dedicated to moving [...]

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  • Poloidal field coils | Turning tables and hot resin

    One of only two manufacturing facilities located on the ITER site, the Poloidal Field Coils Winding Facility was constructed by Europe to house the winding, imp [...]

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  • Assembly Hall | One giant standing

    Two identical handling tools in the Assembly Hall will play a critical role in preparing ITER's nine vacuum vessel sectors for their final journey: transport by [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

Open Doors at the (virtual) cryoplant

R.A.

For the members of the newly established Cryogenic Project Team it was like Open Door Day—a unique opportunity to visit the largest cryoplant ever conceived. For the better part of an hour, they walked freely among pipes and tanks, wondering at the size, complexity and even the beauty of the huge installation.

For the members of the newly established Cryogenic Project Team who had designed the plant's elements, the fascination was to see all the pieces assembled for the first time. (Click to view larger version...)
For the members of the newly established Cryogenic Project Team who had designed the plant's elements, the fascination was to see all the pieces assembled for the first time.
And although every element in this striking industrial landscape was familiar—after all, they had designed them all—the fascination was to see all the pieces assembled for the first time and to take in the whole of the installation from a thousand different viewpoints and perspectives.

"There's a huge difference between knowing that a certain tank is 30 metres high, and realizing what it actually feels like to be standing next to it," mused David Grillot, Cryogenic Project Team leader.

And standing next to it they were, not (yet) in the steel and concrete reality of the future ITER cryoplant, but immersed with 3D goggles in a three-dimensional rendition.

The ITER cryoplant—the  cryogenic installation that will distribute ultra-cold fluids to the Tokamak's superconducting magnets, thermal shield and cryopumps—is the first ITER building to be born into virtual existence.

The rendering of the soccer-field-size installation, down to every pipe and manometre, is a spectacular achievement. "With this virtual model we have a guarantee that what we see and what we 'walk' through perfectly reflects the system as it will be."

''When an issue arises we can bring all parties involved in front of the screen to acknowledge, tackle, and eventually solve the problem,'' says cryogenic engineer Adrien Forgeas (front, next to virtual room operator Manfreo Benoit). (Click to view larger version...)
''When an issue arises we can bring all parties involved in front of the screen to acknowledge, tackle, and eventually solve the problem,'' says cryogenic engineer Adrien Forgeas (front, next to virtual room operator Manfreo Benoit).
Forms, sizes, volumes, relative positions ... all proceed from the huge CATIA database that stores and manages the 3D blueprints of the installation.

"Basically, it's the same tool that CAD designers use on daily basis," says Grillot. "What we've added here, after having simplified the data, is the 'immersive' dimension. And of course, from a viewer's perspective, it makes for an entirely different experience..."

Virtual renditions of the machine's different systems have already demonstrated their value in terms of communication. For the past year and a half, stopping at the ITER Virtual Reality Room has been a must for VIP visitors because nothing conveys the complexity, the challenges and the excitement of the project better than a 3D "immersive experience."

"The virtual cryoplant will be a great communication tool, but it will be much more than that," says cryogenic engineer Adrien Forgeas. "When an issue arises—say about integration or about a sequence of installation—we can bring all parties involved in front of the screen to acknowledge, tackle, and eventually solve the problem."

Access, maintenance and safety procedures will all benefit from the virtual cryoplant—a building made of billion bits of data that feels as real as its steel and concrete model.



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