Over the next few years, R. KIND GmbH will supply around 210 heavy-duty special stainless steel components for the magnetic system of the new ITER nuclear fusion reactor - one of the world’s biggest R&D projects.
Gummersbach, 08.02.13 – In Latin, ITER means “way” or “path”, but as a technical term it stands for International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. R. KIND is writing international history in the best possible way: as part of the international ITER project, the family-owned company has received an order to supply 210 components for the magnetic system of the fusion reactor. As a specialised supplier of open die forgings, KIND will manufacture the components made of austenitic stainless steel grade F316 LN. Some parts will weigh up to 17 tons.
The order volume is around €30 million. “We are very proud that our individually fabricated ITER components meet the strict requirements of such a unique project. In the past 15 years, we have already realized extensive orders for feasibility studies and preliminary tests for this project. We also fully satisfy the conditions of the French RCC-MR 2007 atomic energy standard,” said managing director Markus Kind. As delivery deadlines and finishing processes will have to be tightly, production of the 750 tons of steel will be under extreme time pressure. Optimum fabrication methods and maximum flexibility will be fundamental to completing the order smoothly and on schedule. “The comprehensive approach we take to order scheduling, order management and the final documentation will be a challenge which we look forward to” explained Markus Kind. The experience the company has already gained from participating in major projects such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN will be of huge value in this long-term ITER project. KIND has already put in place the necessary strategic measures: new employees are being taken on, machinery procured and the company premises expanded.
The new fusion reactor is to be built in Cadarache in the south of France. As well as Europe, Japan, the USA, the Russian Federation and China, South Korea and India are also involved in the project. The reactor could allow the recovery of energy generated from the fusion of hydrogen atoms. If successful, it would create an inexhaustible and eco-friendly source of electricity where the energy is repeatedly reproduced, similar to inside the sun. According to the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, in the ITER fusion reactor one gram of fuel would be sufficient to generate 90,000 kilowatt hours of energy. This equates approximately to the heat of combustion of eleven tons of coal.