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Of Interest

See archived entries

Tokamak assembly

Preparing for the Big Lift

The distance was short but the challenge daunting: on Thursday last week, the first section of the plasma chamber was lifted 50 centimetres above its supports. What made this first-of-a-kind operation particularly delicate was the nature of the load (a 1,380-tonne, 18-metre-tall assembly) and the extreme precision its handling required.

The pre-lift operation on Thursday 5 May was a partial rehearsal for the big lift to come, testing the tools, sequences, and coordination. For the ITER Organization and DYNAMIC teams that participated, it was a success. (Click to view larger version...)
The pre-lift operation on Thursday 5 May was a partial rehearsal for the big lift to come, testing the tools, sequences, and coordination. For the ITER Organization and DYNAMIC teams that participated, it was a success.
A restricted area most of the time, the space at the base of the giant SSAT2 pre-assembly tool was exceptionally crowded. Specialists sat facing rows of computers, checking the numbers and graphs flashing on the screens. Crane operators delicately manoeuvred the joysticks on their control boxes. Once all movement had ceased, metrology experts pointed laser beams all over the steely surface of the component, measuring the most minute dimensional deviations to ensure that they remained within tolerance.

The "pre-lift" operation on Thursday 5 May was only the first sequence of the long-expected installation of the first vacuum vessel module in the assembly pit. In both height and distance it represented only a fraction of what the actual operation, scheduled in the coming days, will require. But for the teams involved, it was an indispensable step—permitting the thorough testing of every instrument involved before the big move to come.

 Click here to watch a short video of the pre-lift operation.



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