Test rig for experimental fusion reactor

ThyssenKrupp Schulte is helping drive forward a significant scientific project: the construction of the world’s biggest experimental nuclear fusion reactor ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor).
The experimental nuclear fusion reactor is a multi-billion euro joint project. Seven members of an international research initiative are directly involved in building the reactor in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance in southern France. ThyssenKrupp Schulte’s Munich branch designed a unique test rig to help gather information on the load capacity and mechanical stability of the moving supports for the ITER vacuum vessel. To enable the vessel to expand during the fusion process and absorb the magnetic forces generated, it rests on nine moving steel supports that have to withstand a weight comparable with that of the Eiffel Tower.

The order was placed by KRP-Mechatec Engineering, the company responsible for the design of the test rig and the mechanical stability of the supports. Due to the highly complex nature of the test rig, the engineers requested ThyssenKrupp Schulte to manufacture the components on an individual basis. ThyssenKrupp Schulte advised its customer on the feasibility of each process step, in particular with regard to manufacturing tolerances. More than nine tons of heat-treated steel was eventually used in the construction of the 2,265mm x 2,125mm x 1,400mm rig that resembles a gigantic vice.

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