Giant Chinese transformer now in place

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Giant Chinese transformer now in place

Fourteen metres long and a close to 280 tonnes—one would need an exceptionally powerful crane to lift and install such a heavy and cumbersome load.

Delivered to ITER in June, the electrical transformer is the first of three similar components, part of China's procurement to ITER, for the pulsed power electrical network. (Click to view larger version...)
Delivered to ITER in June, the electrical transformer is the first of three similar components, part of China's procurement to ITER, for the pulsed power electrical network.
But because heavy cranes are expensive, a much cheaper solution was implemented last Thursday to move the giant transformer supplied by China to its permanent home.

Delivered to ITER in June, the electrical transformer is the first of three similar components for the electrical network that will provide power to the installation's "pulsed" systems, such as magnet power supplies and plasma heating systems.

On Thursday morning the load, sitting on crossbeams, was delivered by hydraulic trailer from temporary storage to the installation site. The weight of the transformer was transferred to concrete blocks while the trailer was backed away and technicians fixed railway-type wheels to its underside.

As hydraulic jacks slowly lowered the transformer to rest on its wheels, the beams were removed. Finally, cables were used to draw the transformer along pre-built tracks into its final position. By Friday evening, the operation was complete.

The transformer however is not yet operational. Before being able to deliver its full power, it will need to be filled with insulating oil and fitted with "bushings" (the horn-like devices that connect it to the switchyard) and other equipment, bringing its total weight to 460 tonnes.

Two other transformers will arrive from China in early 2017 to be connected to the switchyard by mid-year.


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