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News & Media

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  • Construction | Art around every corner

    Most of us have experienced it. Turning a corner in one of the Tokamak Building galleries and looking up at the graphic pattern of embedded plates in the concre [...]

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  • Machine | Ensuring port plugs will work as planned

    The stainless steel plugs sealing off each Tokamak port opening are not only massive, they are also complex—carrying and protecting some of the precious payload [...]

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  • Networks | Ensuring real-time distributed computing at ITER

    Many of the control systems at ITER require quick response and a high degree of determinism. If commands go out late, the state of the machine may have changed [...]

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  • Fusion codes and standards | Award for ITER Japan's Hideo Nakajima

    Hideo Nakajima, a senior engineer at ITER Japan, has received an award from the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME) for his contribution to the develop [...]

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  • Machine assembly | First magnet in place

    When it travelled the ITER Itinerary last year, or during cold tests in the onsite winding facility, poloidal field coil #6 (PF6) felt rather large and massive. [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

Assembly rehearsal

Upending the steel cradle

Load handling will play an essential role in the assembly of the ITER Tokamak. Very large, very heavy, very delicate and very costly components will need to be lifted, transported and manoeuvred without damage, often through highly constricted environments.

What needs to be tested is the whole kinematics of upending, transporting and manipulating very large, very heavy, very delicate and very costly charges. (Click to view larger version...)
What needs to be tested is the whole kinematics of upending, transporting and manipulating very large, very heavy, very delicate and very costly charges.
Travelling the entire length of the assembly space (~ 170 metres) the overhead cranes will be the workhorses of the machine assembly phase. For the five years to come, these massive high-precision tools will hold in their hoists and hooks the future of the ITER installation.

"The tasks we have before us are very complicated, and some of them have never been done before," says Bob Shaw, who coordinates machine assembly operations at ITER. "But our philosophy is quite simple: we want to check and test everything possible before actually handling the components."

Bob, his ITER colleagues and the contractors involved in the assembly activities are testing "processes"—not just the lifting system and the loads to be handled, but their interaction and the whole kinematics of upending, transporting and manipulating charges that can be as heavy as four fully loaded Boeing 747s.

"The more you prepare, the fewer problems you are likely to encounter," says Bob. "What we are doing is out of an abundance of caution."

Last week's operation was one of the very first steps into the testing of some of the processes that will be implemented in the upcoming assembly phase.

One of the most delicate operations that the team will soon face is the handling of the vacuum vessel sectors and the D-shaped toroidal field coils that need be combined into "sub-assemblies" before they are lowered into the Tokamak pit.

Prior to their transfer into the "wings" of the sector sub-assembly tools (SSATs), the very large and very heavy components will need to transition from their horizontal delivery positions to upright.

A bespoke lifting device (the "upending tool") has been designed for this purpose. Like a massive steel cradle, it will accommodate the components during the horizontal-to-vertical transition, before their subsequent transfer to the SSATs.

Last week's "dry run" with the empty upending tool has already delivered a wealth of data. The team now knows where to make improvements—such as slight adaptations to the cranes' software—and photogrammetry has provided a "baseline" for deformation reference.

In about one month, when the cranes are available again¹, another series of tests will be performed, this time with loads representative of the actual components.

(¹) The cranes are now being moved to the Tokamak Building to undergo a month-long series of commissioning and load tests designed to set up the cranes, and demonstrate the structural integrity of the load path.
 
Click here to view a time-lapse video.



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