Micromech Systems wins contract for ITER control systems

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Micromech Systems Ltd has won a contract worth £150,000 to supply the control systems for a prototype remote handling device needed to insert and remove divertor cassettes from the vacuum vessel on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor.

Micromech is working as a sub-contractor to Spanish fabrication company TTM, which is building the Cassette Multifunctional Mover (CMM) remote handling arm for the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor). Controlling the arm is not a trivial exercise. Stirling Morley, Sales Director of Micromech, states: "It weighs around eight tonnes and is used to position the cassette on a track within the port plug and then move it forward to line up locking pins, all within an accuracy of +/-3.5mm."

The ITER environment poses some interesting challenges for Micromech. Aside from the size of the arm and cables that have to be radiation tolerant, the control system uses deionised water hydraulics that require bespoke valves to counter the lack of lubrication.

Eventually the CMM prototype will be tested in Finland with a full-size divertor cassette.

EFDA first alerted UKAEA to this project and Dan Mistry, UKAEA's Fusion & Industry Manager, nominated 25 companies for the contract covering the detailed design and manufacture of a cantilevered cassette handling Cassette Multifunctional Mover for installing and removing the divertor cassettes. Although the project went to TTM, Micromech was able to fulfil an important sub-contract role.

With acknowledgements to the UKAEA Fusion & Industry Team

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