High Technology Project: Kersten Europe bends for the ITER Reactor
ITER– the international fusion energy project, which means “the way” in Latin, Latin for “path“)has been undergoing construction since 2007. It will be the world’s largest fusion facility and will produce a significant 500 MW for about seven minutes. A high-tech cooperation consisting of seven project partners: China, Europe, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the US, bringing together half of the world’s population and 80% of the global GDP. ITER is under construction in Cadrache, in the south of France. In this context, Kersten Europe supplies a total of 10,670 bent, stainless-steel profiles with different raw lengths and radii, for the radial plates (10x13m). Some of the stainlesssteel profiles have up to 4 segments with differing radii.
For this large-scale project that is technologically highlychallenging, Kersten Europe has adapted its own hall with special climatic conditions and clean-room requirements. A machining centre with a table of length 4,200 mm, was installed for guaranteeing mechanical processing with tight tolerances. A CNC bending machine with a pressure of 25 t, and two marble measuring tables with plate thicknesses of 20 cm and 50 cm round off the enormous investment.
In order to meet the high demands of the international customers Fusion for Energy (F4E), the EU’s organisation managing Europe’s contribution to ITER, CNIM of France and SIMIC of Italy, a comprehensive Project Management System has been implemented. Kersten Europe GmbH, F4E, SIMIC and CNIM has been managing, accompanying and supervising the project from the very beginning.
The thorough incoming-goods inspection serves as the first pillar for the high quality standard placed on the product. Kersten Europe bends the profiles in radii of 1,800 mm to 10,000 mm.
The mechanical processing is carried out using a CNC machining centre, with a tolerance of 0.1 mm. The profiles are then specially marked and drilled, their flatness is measured and they are chemically cleaned. Their surface finish is carried out at the end of the process. Back at Kersten Europe again, various different tests, e.g. the Ferroxyl Test and the Bresle Test, as well as the Roughness Test and an additional Flatness Test with a global profile tolerance of 0.5 mm, are important components for fulfilling the quality targets.
Each of the 10,670 profiles has its own measurement protocol, each with 30 different measuring points. Kersten Europe pays particular attention to the special packaging. The profiles are welded in airtight foil, packed securely for transport and dispatched in specially designed, wooden transport boxes.
Works started in 2013 and will be concluded very successfully in 2016.
With this contribution, Kersten Europe clearly testifies its pioneering role, yet again, in the field of bending and further processing. The customer acquires more than just a bent profile. It profits from the conceptional project work at the beginning, the Project Management during the project, and the combination of various technologies, such as bending, mechanics and surface finish.
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