Positioning parts weighing hundreds of metric tons with an accuracy to within 1/100th of a millimeter

Key figures


tolerance for the positioning of items weighing 750 metric tons


weight of the largest ITER part lifted by a CNIM tool

10 000

of component parts of the assembly lifted using our tools

ITER Tokamak, currently under construction at the Cadarache site in France, is the world’s largest experimental reactor designed to produce fusion power.

In December 2016, ITER chose CNIM Systèmes Industriels (CSI) to engineer, manufacture and install special tools for the assembly of the Tokamak’s external components. This five-year framework contract for Purpose Built Tools (PBT) includes various steps.

For the first part of the contract, CSI designed nine types of special tools, some of which were capable of handling items 17-meters tall weighing 750 metric tons with a precision of about a hundredth of a millimeter.

TFC pairs IT

Manutention complexe

L’un des outillages majeurs développé par CSI au cours du contrat « Purpose Build Tool » est le Toroidal Field Coils Pairs in-pit Installation Tool (TFC pairs IT). C’est un système de manutention complexe conçu pour installer dans le puits les 9 secteurs de 750 tonnes du Tokamak.

Ces aimants supraconducteurs, également appelé TF Coils, assurent une fonction critique au sein d’ITER : ils sont responsables du confinement du plasma, chaud à 150 millions de degrés C°, à l’intérieur de la chambre à vide.

The TFC pairs IT is the most complex and largest systems of all the deliverables covered by the PBT contract. Based on an extremely complex kinematic sequence featuring 18 simultaneously controlled 700-bar hydraulic ram, it will move the TFC superconductors a few millimeters in three axes and ensure their precise positioning to within 1/100th of a millimeter. It will also perform the final adjustment of the Tokamak’s nine sectors*.

*A Tokamak sector mainly consists of portions of vacuum chamber, heat shielding and two TF coils.


This complex handling tool is the only tool in the industry providing this level of performance. Three years of development well rewarded! It will be in operation from the fall of 2021.

says Guillaume Ribot, manager of the PBT project at CNIM Systèmes Industriels.


Manutention de la base du Cryostat

Other exceptionally large tools designed for ITER include a lifting beam system. This system notably installed ITER’s heaviest part, the base of the cryostat, weighing 1,250 metric tons. This handling system comprises four beams, two of them fitted with hydraulic rams which will balance the load. It handles the cryostat base and positions it in the pit very precisely.

CNIM successfully met the many challenges raised by handling such a massive structure inside the assembly building notabily a load that must be lifted over the Sub-Sector-Assembly-Tools (SSAT) at 25 m-height. (see picture on the right © ITER ORG)

More info on handling the base of the ITER cryostat

Cryostat Feed Through

Au total, 20 CTF seront positionnés grâce à cet outillage, dont 17 seront placés en position finale. Les 3 autres seront insérés une fois que la construction du cryostat sera plus avancée. CNIM Ssytèmes Industriels a développé pour cela un support de stockage, qui devra notamment résister aux séismes durant la phase de transition.