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Special delivery for ITER

-Krista Dulon

The exceptional convoys took two weeks to travel from their fabrication site at GH in San Sebastian, Spain to the ITER site. Photo: AIF (Click to view larger version...)
The exceptional convoys took two weeks to travel from their fabrication site at GH in San Sebastian, Spain to the ITER site. Photo: AIF
Giant steel beams arrived at the ITER site this week after a two-week voyage from San-Sebastian, Spain on flatbed trucks. The beams will form the first of two bridge cranes that are planned for the Poloidal Field Coils Winding Facility.

The Winding Facility is the enormous building going up along the eastern side of the ITER platform that will house the assembly of the Poloidal Field (PF) coils. Five of the six PF coils, measuring from 8 to 24 metres in diameter, are too massive to be transported in their finished state. The winding operations for these magnets will be carried out by Europe in the PF Coil Winding Facility, using conductors supplied by China, Europe and Russia.

 
Traffic was halted briefly as the huge beams made their way across the rotary and onto the ITER construction site. Photo: AIF (Click to view larger version...)
Traffic was halted briefly as the huge beams made their way across the rotary and onto the ITER construction site. Photo: AIF
The heavy lifting required for PF coil assembly will be done by two bridge cranes. Straddling the workspace across its width (approximately 40 metres) and installed at opposite ends of the Winding Facility, the cranes will travel along metal rails that span the building's entire length.
 
"We're talking about two very heavy units that will be capable of carrying loads of 25 and 50 tons respectively," explains Philippe Martin, project director for the PF Coils Winding Facility and representative of Spie Batignolles, part of the French consortium (Spie Batignolles, Omega Concept and Setec) chosen by the European Domestic Agency F4E to design and build the facility. "The building was designed around the requirements of these cranes, including massive concrete pillars anchored deep in the ground to support the runways."
 
During operations, the crane will unload 20-ton coils of niobium-titanium (NbTi) superconductor from trucks that back directly into the building, and deliver them to the winding machines. On the opposite end, the completed windings will be transported by the second travelling crane for final assembly activities.
 
Preparing to lift the 23-ton beams into place. Photo: AIF (Click to view larger version...)
Preparing to lift the 23-ton beams into place. Photo: AIF
Over the past days, the beams for the first crane—with a combined weight of 46 tons—were settled into place in the west part of the building some 9.50 meters overhead. Once secured, workers will lift the hoisting trolley into its final position and proceed with electrical connections and load testing. In all, the installation should take three weeks.
 
"The delivery of this first crane happened right on schedule," says Philippe. "From the beginning of construction activities last August we have been able to maintain the schedule, which is a real challenge for a project of this size. It's hard to believe that 11 months ago, there was nothing here."
 
Rendez-vous at the beginning of September for the delivery of the second crane ...
 
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