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Alain Baudry
Integration and Modification manager - ITER
Published on May 14, 2018

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ITER: the fusion of digital models

On ITER, fusion has already started! Not on the scale of the atom, but among the digital models in which more than 10 million components and no fewer than 8,000 3D models have been brought together.

Vue aérienne site ITER

- Crédits : ITER Organization- EJF Riche

ITER is the story of 35 countries attempting to prepare the way for the industrial and commercial harnessing of nuclear fusion. Thousands of people are collaborating closely, each making contributions in their speciality to bring this unparalleled scientific experiment to fruition. The foundation for this cooperation is supplied by Dassault Systèmes’ CATIA® and ENOVIA® development platforms, which represent ITER as a virtual object in 3 dimensions within a giant infrastructure model.

As a member of the consortium ENGAGE made up of four European engineering firms, and in partnership with the European agency F4E (Fusion For Energy), Egis has a key role: update the digital model of the 39 buildings and outdoor facilities hosted by the 42-hectare ITER platform.

A new approach to design

On this type of project, the big challenge is working out how to organise the engineering and construction around a 3D model, from data acquisition to configuration management. When a digital model is used, it requires its own methods and quality procedures and a permanent connection has to be established between the engineers who digitalise their plans and the rest of the engineering corps which still produces plans on paper.

Communication and universal access to 3D models are therefore a priority for ITER. This is why, at each stage of design and construction, two sets of deliverables are always reviewed: the 3D model and the corresponding 2D plans.

Simultaneous engineering

Contractors, too, are associated with the life of the model. It is their responsibility to update the model as and when they conduct design studies. On this project, ITER has performed no fewer than 1,000 modifications, which requires us to regularly issue frozen versions of the ITER object which include these changes.

It is therefore necessary – not to say imperative -  to manage configurations judiciously if we wish to maintain perfect cohesion between the specialist divisions and the teams on the ground. While this remains a tricky task, this simultaneous engineering would probably be unattainable without the help of the 3D model, our shared synthetic tool.

ITER, a world of figures!

  • 35 member countries
  • 5000 people involved
  • 8000 3D models
  • 10 million digitalised components
  • 500 MW of power produced
  • 840 m³ of plasma
  • 100 000 km of superconducting strands
  • Fusion at 150 million degrees Celsius
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