The Port Integration Facility will include four different assembly lines to allow parallel work on all of these elements. The port plugs are the most difficult to assemble; an equatorial port plug, for example, weighs up to 48 tonnes and has three drawer-like diagnostic shield modules close to the plasma with one to three diagnostic systems hosted in each module. Because the diagnostic shield modules are
Diagnostic equipment must be assembled inside a port plug, but also behind the plug inside the interspace support structure (inside of the bioshield wall ) and the port cell support structure (outside of the bioshield wall).
"The advantage of having the assembly tools next to the test facility is that if a port plug fails the test, we will have the tools to un-mount it and to disassemble and reassemble it," says port plug test facility engineer Thierry Cerisier. "In the worst case, we will only need to ship back a part of the port plug."
For the insertion of the drawer-like diagnostic shield modules, the port plug will be raised to vertical. The tooling in the Port Integration Facility will have to take into account the longer upper port assemblies, which can reach up to 14 metres in length.