ITER: behind the scenes of a 600-ton convoy

ITER: behind the scenes of a 600-ton convoy

This summer, a component weighing almost 420 tonnes reached the Iter site in Cadarache. For the final stage of road transport, the convoy, over 51 m long and weighing a total of 641 tonnes, mobilized more than a hundred people... a "usual" operation for transporting Iter components, but one that always impresses! 

It's 10 p.m. on this summer's night, and Loic Borrelly, Daher supervisor on the Iter route, gives the go-ahead for the convoy to reach the Iter site in Cadarache, from the small town of Peyrolles-en-Provence. Prior to departure, a final briefing covers the complexities of the route and how it will unfold. The escorts set off, and the gigantic parcel follows, on its imposing 18-line x 4-line trailer, ready to cover the remaining twenty kilometers or so to its destination. 

This is the final stage in the transport of this part, which left Japan several weeks ago and arrived by ship at the port of Fos-sur-Mer. Here, Istrans teams had handled the transfers, loading and unloading on barge, to Berre-l'Etang. The Capelle Oversize teams then took over, providing road transport to the final site over a distance of 104 kilometers, in four-night stages. GIE Istrans-Capelle was chosen by Daher (in charge of global logistics for Iter parts) to transport the exceptional packages from the port of Fos to the Cadarache site. 

It's a short but highly technical journey for the teams responsible for transporting the package of the day: a Toroidal Field Coil, manufactured in Japan by Toshiba Energy Systems&Solutions. Weighing in at 419 tonnes and measuring almost 10 m wide, this piece - one of 18 assembled around the Tokamak's vacuum chamber to form the magnetic field that will confine the plasma - is one of the most imposing to be delivered to Cadarache.
The convoy itself is just as imposing: a total weight of over 641 tonnes, 9.8 m wide, 6.4 m high and 51 m long. The trailer is configured in 18 axle lines on 4 lanes (18X4 SPMT Kamag K25) with two Mercedes Arocs 8X6X4 tractors (one puller and one pusher, just received by GIE and now on their first missions), to move this colossus. A 3rd tractor is planned to negotiate the steepest slopes on the route. What's more, the trailer's first three axles are powered by power boosters. An extra reserve of power to cope with the ups and downs of the route. 

Read all about it in our next issue of Mille Pattes Magazine.

To find out more about the Iter project and the logistical management of these very large components, click here to read our Jdl round table on the subject.