The ITER PF coils will reach a diameter of 25 m and their weight will range between 200-400 tonnes. Due to their impressive size the only viable option is to manufacture them on-site. In order to do so, a specific facility has been built and has started to be equipped with the necessary tooling.
Inside this building, which is 250 m long, 45 m wide and 17 m high, some of the biggest magnets will be produced. The spacious hall is divided between different areas where extremely delicate processes such as winding, stacking and impregnation will be performed. With the help of cranes, the massive coils will be lifted from one area to another. At a later stage, the magnets will undergo a cold test before they are transported and installed in the ITER machine.
In December 2015 the winding table, manufactured by Sea Alp, arrived on-site all the way from Italy. After having completed its assembly, we kicked off with the installation of the equipment which will be needed to straighten, clean, bend, sandblast, and wrap the conductor. As always, the tooling trials have been carried out with pre-dummy conductors so as to monitor the first manufacturing steps and assess the performance of the equipment.
A team of 20 people from ASG Superconductors and CNIM worked closely to review the winding process and pressed the button to start manufacturing 8 turns of a pre-dummy conductor Double Pancake (DP) weighing 10 tonnes. After having concluded this test successfully, the team of F4E contractors will perform a complete DP to qualify all processes and finally, start manufacturing the first PF coils early next year.
To view the first winding operation performed at the ITER PF coils facility view the clip.