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News Article | August 11, 2017
Site: cerncourier.com

Completion of the first toroidal-field coil for ITER, carrying 4.5 km of niobium-tin conductor, demonstrates superconductor technology on a gigantic scale. It is 14 m high, 9 m wide and weighs 110 tonnes. Fresh off a production line at ASG in Italy, and coated in epoxy Kapton-glass panels (image top left), it is the first superconducting toroidal-field coil for the ITER fusion experiment under construction in Cadarache, Southern France. The giant D-shaped ring contains 4.5 km of niobium-tin cable (each containing around 1000 individual superconducting wires) wound into a coil that will carry a current of 68,000 A, generating a peak magnetic field of 11.8 T to confine a plasma at a temperature of 150 million degrees. The coil will soon be joined by 18 others like it, 10 manufactured in Europe and nine in Japan. After completion at ASG, the European coils will be shipped to SIMIC in Italy, where they will be cooled to 78 K, tested and welded shut in a 180 tonne stainless-steel armour. They will then be impregnated with special resin and machined using one of the largest machines in Europe, before being transported to the ITER site. Science doesn’t get much bigger than this, even by particle-physics standards. ITER’s goal is to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power by maintaining a plasma in a self-sustaining “ignition” phase, and was established by an international agreement ratified in 2007 by China, the European Union (EU), Euratom, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the US. Following years of delay relating to the preferred site and project costs, ITER entered construction a decade ago and is scheduled to produce first plasma by December 2025. The EU contribution to ITER, corresponding to roughly half the total cost, amounts to €6.6 billion for construction up to 2020. The scale of ITER’s components is staggering. The vacuum vessel that will sit inside the field coils is 10 times bigger than anything before it, measuring 19.4 m across, 11.4 m high and requiring new welding technology to be invented. The final ITER experiment will weigh 23,000 tonnes, almost twice that of the LHC’s CMS experiment. The new toroidal-field coil is the first major magnetic element of ITER to be completed. A series of six further poloidal coils, a central solenoid and a number of correction coils will complete ITER’s complex magnetic configuration. The central solenoid (a 1000 tonne superconducting electromagnet in the centre of the machine) must be strong enough to contain a force of 60 MN – twice the thrust of the Space Shuttle at take-off. Fusion for Energy (F4E), the EU organisation managing Europe’s contribution to ITER, has been collaborating with industrial partners such as ASG Superconductors, Iberdrola Ingeniería y Construcción, Elytt Energy, CNIM, SIMIC, ICAS consortium and Airbus CASA to deliver Europe’s share of components in the field of magnets. At least 600 people from 26 companies have been involved in the toroid production and the first coil is the result of almost a decade of work. This involved, among other things, developing new ways to jacket superconducting cables based on materials that are brittle and much more difficult to handle than niobium-titanium. In total, 100,000 km of niobium-tin strands are necessary for ITER’s toroidal-field magnets, increasing worldwide production by a factor 10. Since 2008, F4E has signed ITER-related contracts reaching approximately €5 billion, with the magnets amounting to €0.5 billion. Firms that are involved, such as SIMIC where the coils will be tested and Elytt, which has developed some of the necessary tooling, have much to gain from collaborating in ITER. According to Philippe Lazare, CEO of CNIM Industrial Systems Division: “In order to manufacture our share of ITER components, we had to upgrade our industrial facilities, establish new working methods and train new talent. In return, we have become a French reference in high-precision manufacturing for large components.” Cooling the toroidal-field magnets requires about 5.8 tonnes of helium at a temperature of 4.5 K and a pressure of 6 bar, putting helium in a supercritical phase slightly warmer than it is in the LHC. But ITER’s operating environment is totally different to an accelerator, explains head of F4E’s magnets project team Alessandro Bonito-Oliva: “The magnets have to operate subject to lots of heat generated by neutron irradiation from the plasma and AC losses generated inside the cable, which has to be removed, whereas at CERN you don’t have this problem. So the ITER coolant has to be fairly close to the wire – this is why we used forced-flow of helium inside the cable.” A lot of ITER’s superconductor technology work was driven by CERN in improving the characteristics of superconductors, says Bonito-Oliva: “High-energy physics mainly looks for very high current performance, while in fusion it is also important to minimise the AC losses, which generally brings a reduction of current performance. This is why Nb3Sn strands for fusion and accelerators are slightly different.” CERN entered formal collaboration with ITER in March 2008 via a co-operation agreement concerning the design of high-temperature superconducting current leads and other magnet technologies, with CERN’s superconducting laboratory in building 163 becoming one of the “reference” laboratories for testing ITER’s superconducting strands. Niobium-tin is the same material that CERN is pursuing for the high-field magnets of the High Luminosity LHC and also a possible future circular collider, although the performance demands of accelerator magnets requires significant further R&D. Head of CERN’s technology department, Jose Miguel Jimenez, who co-ordinates the collaboration between CERN and ITER, says that in addition to helping with the design of the cable, CERN played a big role in advising for high-voltage testing of the cable insulation and, in particular, with the metallurgical aspect. “Metallurgy is one of the key areas of technology transfer from CERN to ITER. Another is the HTS current leads, which CERN has helped to design in collaboration with the Chinese group working on the ITER tokamak, and in simulating the heat transfer under real conditions,” he explains. “We also helped with the cryoplants, magnetic-field quality, and on central interlocks and safety systems based on our experience with the LHC.”


Alibaba Innovation Center to spur solutions in smart cars, biomedical sciences, intelligent manufacturing, robotics, and the Internet of Things SANTA CLARA, CA--(Marketwired - Aug 17, 2017) - In response to rising demand from American and global startups seeking resources and a ready ecosystem to expand business operations and market share in China and beyond, InnoSpring, an industry innovation catalyzer and ecosystems builder unlocking opportunities for startups and industrial enterprises worldwide, today announced a joint venture with Alibaba and the launch of their Alibaba Innovation Center located in Jiading, a district with automobiles as its leading industry. With this joint venture, InnoSpring and the Alibaba can now offer an expanded startup support system and infrastructure to drive the globalization of innovation. American, global, and Chinese companies seeking to accelerate growth can leverage the Alibaba Innovation Center along with InnoSpring's Shanghai Hongkou Incubator and its four other satellite locations in the area as a landing pad for expansion. The center's comprehensive cloud service offerings and commerce infrastructure -- along with InnoSpring's strong ecosystem of investors, partners, services and events -- provide the physical and digital foundation for cross border businesses and online marketplaces to flourish. One of the first InnoSpring-Alibaba Innovation Center joint venture initiatives is the launch of Demo Day. With additional support from Jiading District government and TEEC (Tsinghua Entrepreneur & Executive Club), the day-long event welcomed US startups to demo and pitch to a panel of investors. This batch of startups hailed mainly from the areas of biomedical sciences and intelligent manufacturing, and they presented to more than 10 global investors including SIMIC Holdings Co., Ltd., Shanghai Jiading Venture Capital Management Company, Northern Light Venture Capital, and more. "Our joint venture with Alibaba underscores the importance of close collaboration between industry giants, government, associations, and startups," said Dr. Xiao Wang, chief fire starter and general manager, InnoSpring Silicon Valley. "By working together to provide a vibrant ecosystem for startups, we collectively push technological boundaries to create open, global, and 'borderless' platforms for innovation." With resources from TEEC's entrepreneur network and the Alibaba ecosystem, InnoSpring and partners are promoting and developing Jiading as a global center of innovation in areas of smart cars, biomedical sciences, intelligent manufacturing and robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT), specifically in integrated circuits. Jiading is a launch pad and gateway to the China market for many companies in these industries. InnoSpring Silicon Valley has introduced international innovation best practices to the incubator and has drawn some US companies such as Antibody BioPharm, Inc., Conju-Probe, and Intelligent Pharma, there. "This is an exciting venture for InnoSpring and Alibaba, two companies that have great entrepreneurial expertise and passion for the global exchange of business and technology innovation," said Eric Cheng, general manager of the Alibaba Innovation Center (Shanghai Jiading) and the InnoSpring Shanghai Hongkou Incubator. "We look forward to working with exciting startups from around the world and helping them jumpstart their enterprises in China and across borders." This center joins InnoSpring's fast growing network of innovation centers and offices that the company has set up in China and the United States. The expanded network will advance InnoSpring's mission to nurture startups and accelerate the pace of the commercialization of new technologies in the global market. About InnoSpring InnoSpring is an industry innovation catalyzer and ecosystems builder unlocking opportunities for startups and industrial enterprises worldwide. With close to 20 years of experience, InnoSpring founders have a track record of building vibrant ecosystems and bringing together companies to synthesize innovative ideas and advanced technologies into upgraded products and services. These successes have paved the way for InnoSpring to positively impact and elevate traditional industries to new levels, and enabled large enterprises to operate more profitably and efficiently by collaborating with startups on cutting-edge technologies. With intelligent manufacturing, bio-medicine and smart building as its focus industries, InnoSpring's extensive services range from planning, investing, technology development, startup growth, space solutions, mentoring and ecosystems building. Recognized as one of the top 10 global accelerators (Entrepreneur), InnoSpring has four funds under management, and has served more than 300 startups, six of whom went public. Headquartered in Shanghai, the company operates multiple industrial parks, incubators, venture capital funds, and has offices in China, the United States and Germany (launching in fall 2017). InnoSpring Silicon Valley, a subsidiary of InnoSpring, was founded in 2012 as the first US-China startup incubator to help accelerate cross-border entrepreneurship and innovation in US, China and beyond. It has since established itself as one of the Bay Area's top Chinese investors (Silicon Valley Business Journal) and has expanded its services ranging from strategy, planning, the sourcing of investors, talent and partners, and mentoring to their portfolio companies. InnoSpring Silicon Valley has worked with 150 U.S. companies and invested in more than 50, including Drive.ai, Savioke, TrustGo, Kuaiya, Meadow and Meta. InnoSpring Silicon Valley is located in Santa Clara, California, with an office in San Francisco. www.innospringus.com. About Alibaba Group and Alibaba Innovation Center Alibaba Group's mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The company aims to build the future infrastructure of commerce. It envisions that its customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that it will be a company that lasts at least 102 years. Alibaba Innovation Center is Alibaba Group's incubation service platform which is based on Internet, cloud computing and large data technology. Alibaba Innovation Center provides business support service including venture capital, venues, office facilities, capital docking, mentors, tax relief, development components, promotion, Alibaba Cloud service resources etc. As of December 2016, Alibaba Innovation Center has established 35 innovative incubators in 25 cities across the country, provided free cloud resources support for more than 2,000 startups, totaling more than 35 million yuan. https://chuangke.aliyun.com/?spm=5176.8142029.388261.805.z0fBTU


Poncet L.,Fusion for Energy F4E | Bellesia B.,Fusion for Energy F4E | Oliva A.B.,Fusion for Energy F4E | Boter Rebollo E.,Fusion for Energy F4E | And 16 more authors.
Fusion Engineering and Design | Year: 2015

The ITER Toroidal Field (TF) magnet system consists of 18 "D" shaped coils. Fusion for Energy (F4E), the European Domestic Agency for ITER, is responsible for the supply of 10 out the 19 TF coils (18 installed plus one spare coil). Each TF coil, about 300 t in weight, is made of a stainless steel case containing a Winding Pack (WP).The European manufacturing of the Radial Plates (RPs) and WPs has been awarded to two different industrial partners, whose activities are strongly linked with each other. In order to manufacture a Double Pancake (DP), first, the conductor has to be bent onto a D-shaped double spiral trajectory, then heat treated and inserted in the grooves of the RP. This represents the most challenging manufacturing step: in order to fit inside the groove, the double spiral trajectory of the conductor must match almost perfectly the trajectory of the groove, over a length above 700. m. In order to achieve this, the conductor trajectory length must be controlled with an accuracy of 1. mm over a length of 350. m while the radial plate groove has to be machined with tolerances of ±0.2. mm over dimensions of more than 10. m. In order to succeed, it has been essential to develop a metrology process capable to control with high accuracy both the DP conductor and the RP groove trajectories.This paper reports on the work carried out on the development and qualification of the dimensional metrology to monitor the manufacturing of the conductor. Reference is made to the final dimensional check of the RP focusing on the groove centreline length. In addition the results obtained on the one to one scaled prototype DP are described. Finally, the strategy and foreseen improvements for the production of DPs are discussed. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Bonito Oliva A.,Fusion for Energy F4E | Batista R.,Fusion for Energy F4E | Bellesia B.,Fusion for Energy F4E | Boter Robello E.,Fusion for Energy F4E | And 27 more authors.
IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity | Year: 2016

The ITER magnetic system includes 18 toroidal field (TF) coils constructed using a Nb3Sn cable-in-conduit superconductor. Each TF coil comprises a winding pack (WP) composed of seven double pancake (DP) modules stacked together, impregnated, and inserted into a stainless steel coil case. Ten TF coils are being produced in Europe, under the responsibility of Fusion for Energy (F4E) (the European Domestic Agency), whereas the remaining nine TF coils are being produced in Japan. F4E has implemented a procurement strategy aimed to minimize costs and risks by subdividing the procurement into three main packages, each foreseeing first an RD and a qualification phase. One procurement package is related to the construction of 72 radial plates (RP), another to the fabrication of the ten WPs, and a third to the cold test and coil-case insertion of ten WPs. All industrial contracts have now been signed and are running. The situation as of September 2015 is as follows: 2 RP prototypes and 32 production RPs (enough for four TF coils) have been successfully (enough for four TF coils) produced and delivered to the winding pack supplier. A full-size superconducting DP prototype has been successfully fabricated and subjected to a thermal cycle at 80 K. So far, 33 DPs have been wound, 27 DPs have been heat treated, and 26 DPs have been successfully transferred into the RP grooves. The cover plate welding has been successfully completed on 18 DPs. Regarding the insertion contract, an alternative way to insert the WP inside the coil case has been devised, and the corresponding transfer tooling is being procured. The qualification for the most important manufacturing processes is underway. © 2002-2011 IEEE.


Poncet L.,Fusion for Energy F4E | Bellesia B.,Fusion for Energy F4E | Oliva A.B.,Fusion for Energy F4E | Boter Rebollo E.,Fusion for Energy F4E | And 16 more authors.
Fusion Engineering and Design | Year: 2015

The ITER Toroidal Field (TF) magnet system consists of 18 "D" shaped coils. Fusion for Energy (F4E), the European Domestic Agency for ITER, is responsible for the supply of 10 out the 19 TF coils (18 installed plus one spare coil). Each TF coil, about 300 t in weight, is made of a stainless steel case containing a Winding Pack (WP). The European manufacturing of the Radial Plates (RPs) and WPs has been awarded to two different industrial partners, whose activities are strongly linked with each other. In order to manufacture a Double Pancake (DP), first, the conductor has to be bent onto a D-shaped double spiral trajectory, then heat treated and inserted in the grooves of the RP. This represents the most challenging manufacturing step: in order to fit inside the groove, the double spiral trajectory of the conductor must match almost perfectly the trajectory of the groove, over a length above 700 m. In order to achieve this, the conductor trajectory length must be controlled with an accuracy of 1 mm over a length of 350 m while the radial plate groove has to be machined with tolerances of ±0.2 mm over dimensions of more than 10 m. In order to succeed, it has been essential to develop a metrology process capable to control with high accuracy both the DP conductor and the RP groove trajectories. This paper reports on the work carried out on the development and qualification of the dimensional metrology to monitor the manufacturing of the conductor. Reference is made to the final dimensional check of the RP focusing on the groove centreline length. In addition the results obtained on the one to one scaled prototype DP are described. Finally, the strategy and foreseen improvements for the production of DPs are discussed. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


News Article | March 18, 2016
Site: phys.org

One of the biggest and most complex magnets in history is being manufactured at the ASG facilities, Italy. This gigantic "D" shaped coil will be form part of the system that will confine ITER's super-hot plasma which is expected to reach 150 million ˚C. Basically, an impressive magnetic shield will entrap the hot gas and keep it away from the walls of the vessel of the world's biggest fusion machine. F4E is responsible for the supply of 10 out of the 18 TF coils that ITER will need to operate. Witnessing the first TF coil taking shape is a turning point for the project and the 600 people having contributed to this milestone from at least 26 companies. This is the result of various contracts starting in 2008 when F4E started its collaboration with several suppliers for the production of Europe's TF conductor, which reached a length of 20 km. Iberdrola, ASG and Elytt Energy, have used parts of this conductor to manufacture Europe's first TF coil. Winding, sandblasting and heat treatment have been some of the main steps taken in order to fit the conductor into stainless steel plates, known as radial plates, manufactured by CNIM and SIMIC. Piece by piece the conductor had to be lifted, wrapped, insulated and placed back in the grooves of the plates before it got covered. Then, the structure containing the conductor has been laser welded and wrapped with insulating material, before going through impregnation. To create the inner-core of the TF coil, a pack of seven of these structures had to be stacked, electrically jointed, wrapped, insulated and impregnated. Pipes through which cold liquid helium will circulate inside the magnet to help it reach a superconducting state and instruments to measure its performance have also been added. Each of these packs, known as a winding pack in the ITER jargon, is 14 m high, 9 m wide and 1 m thick. Its weight is approximately 110 tonnes which compares to that of a Boeing 747! For Alessandro Bonito-Oliva, F4E's Manager for Magnets, and his team, this has been an accomplishment of significant importance. "Thanks to our determination to meet the tight planning for magnets and the excellent collaboration between F4E and its suppliers we are heading towards Europe's first TF coil, which also happens to be a first for ITER. Seeing a magnet of such complexity taking shape suggests that we can deliver some of the most technically challenging systems of ITER. Sharing expertise and good communication between F4E, ITER International Organization and Japan's Domestic Agency for ITER have been fundamentally important for the achievement of this milestone and will continue to be as production is still ongoing. So what are the next stages for the inner-core of the first TF coil? The stacking of the first pack has been completed and the electrical insulation material is being applied. When its vacuum-pressure insulation is concluded it will be transferred to SIMIC to conduct a series of tests. Then, it will be inserted in the massive case of the coil and in the end the final casting process will be performed, during which additional epoxy resin will be injected to fill in any remaining gaps. And what about the progress of the other TF components? In March the production of radial plates for which F4E is responsible has accelerated reaching 45 out of a total of 70. Meanwhile, the manufacturing of the components of the second TF coil have been completed paving the way for its assembly.

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