In the early hours of the day, the convoy transporting the 320 t magnet reached the ITER site, Cadarache. The Toroidal Field coil sailed from the port of Maghera, where SIMIC performed the final manufacturing steps, arrived at the industrial port of Marseille, and during five nights it covered the distance to reach its final destination. The arrival of the massive component has set two records: this is the first magnet delivered in the history of the ITER project and the biggest component so-far handed over by Europe. And during these challenging times where social distancing is mandatory, moments like these make us come together virtually and fill us with collective pride. They give us courage and a sense of perspective about the things that we can achieve together.
Every component has its story. It’s the people involved in its lifecycle who manage to tell it best. We asked some members of the F4E Magnets team to share their thoughts on the day of this significant achievement.
Alessandro Bonito-Oliva, F4E Programme Manager for Magnets, elaborated on the importance of this important milestone for Europe. “This achievement results from 12 years of work involving more than 700 people and at least 40 companies. Many factors have made this possible: vision in developing the best procurement strategy and interfaces among suppliers; competence in defining the correct technical solutions; cooperation between the different parties to tackle issues in manufacturing the most complex magnet to date; and last but not least, passion, perseverance and the full commitment of a highly qualified team. Without any of these elements, it would have been impossible to complete this long journey.”
“This achievement results from 12 years of work involving more than 700 people and at least 40 companies.”Alessandro Bonito-Oliva, F4E Programme Manager for Magnets
Boris Bellesia, F4E Project Manager, has been involved in the final stages of manufacturing. “The arrival of the Toroidal Field coil to the ITER site is the incredible result of the joint effort of all stakeholders. I feel incredibly happy today, despite the COVID-19 confinement measures which prevented me from living this moment on-site,” he explains. Piergiorgio Aprili, F4E Technical Support Officer, also following the final phase of operations, shares his thoughts. “This incredible goal has been achieved due to the great determination and strength of the whole team during these years. In a period which is so difficult for all of us, it gives us extra stimulus to continue by feeling motivated.”
There are also those involved in the early stages, responsible for putting together the Winding Pack – the inner-core structure of the magnet. Robert Harrison, F4E Project Manager, has been following it all since the winding of the conductor performed at ASG Superconductors. “Having witnessed at first hand the fabrication of the Winding Packs in La Spezia it is very satisfying to see the final fruition of all the hard work and effort of all those involved.”
Eva Boter, F4E Project Manager, has followed the Consortium SIMIC–CNIM (CSC), responsible for the production of 70 radial plates in which the conductor nestles. “New buildings, new portal machines, new manufacturing processes … all developed within this contract to deliver the components on time and with precision. Managing the consortium and their sub-suppliers required a huge effort of the whole F4E team. We were all very committed at all levels and this was the key for the success of the contract.” The logistics of the transportation of the coil also required a lot of effort and with several contingency plans due to COVID-19. “We managed to transport Europe’s first Toroidal Field coil within the contractual deadlines and budget. Significant last-minute extra efforts were made to adjust to the crisis caused by the pandemic. Thanks to the support and pro-active spirit of all involved in F4E, SIMIC, ITER Organization, Agence ITER France, the Gendarmerie, the high-way owners, Daher and all their sub-contractors, we managed to deliver the coil safely” explains Ben Slee, F4E Head of Transport Group.