With the help of the unique Trailer Power Assist (TPA), an innovative development by Mammoet and Scheuerle, the Dutch heavy-load service provider was able to transport a 430-tonne coil using only two tractor units. Without TPA, six towing vehicles would have been required. In addition, the technology reduced the time required for the transportation by half.
The experimental nuclear fusion reactor ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is a groundbreaking project which, following its planned completion in 2025, is expected to demonstrate how electricity can be generated with the help of nuclear fusion. In a similar pioneering nature the Dutch company, Mammoet, which is the world’s largest service provider in the field of technical lifting and transport solutions, transported two 430-tonne reactor components from the port in Marseille over a distance of more than 100 kilometres through southern France.
Mammoet used the TPA for transporting the field coils on behalf of Daher Technologies, a specialist in nuclear fuel logistics whereby Scheuerle, a subsidiary of the TII Group owned by the Otto Rettenmaier entrepreneurial family, produced the TPA according to Mammoet’s specifications. With 1,000 hp engine power, a traction force of 400 kilonewtons along with an innovative hydraulic drive, the TPA generates more drive power than any other solution in this category. What would otherwise have required six tractor units, was possible with only two due to the additional thrust provided by the TPA.
The high traction force combined with the extraordinary manoeuvrability of the TPA also made it possible for Mammoet to cover the distance in a very short time. Because the route included numerous motorway sections, Mammoet had to handle the transport as quickly as possible so that traffic was affected as little as possible. The TPA actually managed its first long-haul assignment in half the specified time. A result impressively demonstrating the exceptionally high level of efficiency of the system.
Once the transported goods have been delivered at their destination, the tractor was able to pull the TPA to the next location in freewheel mode at a maximum speed of up to 80 km/h. Cost effectiveness and efficiency are thus considerably higher than with previous transport solutions.
Not only are the ballast requirements of conventional tractors eliminated with the TPA but also the time-consuming need for coordination between the drivers that normally occurs in a multi-tractor combination in order to synchronise the braking and steering behaviour. This also increases the safety of a transport assignment using TPA. By reducing the total weight of a transport and the number of tractor units, the TPA also improves the fuel balance.
The TPA is based on the self-propelled K25 modular platform vehicle which hydraulically drives four of the six axle lines by means of one Power Pack Unit (PPU). Thanks to its modular design, the TPA can be easily coupled with other units and demonstrates even more power when combined in a group of vehicles. The system supports a road speed of 28 km/h, which is up to 20 times faster than a conventional self-propelled modular transporter. When travelling more than 28 km/h, the TPA switches over to the ‘freewheeling mode’ allowing the tractor to be able to drive up to the permitted maximum speed. The TPA is eligible for road approval throughout Europe.
The two field coils were just the first transport assignment for the ITER research project. Mammoet will also tackle future transportation tasks for the ITER with the TPA, including the transport of the first VV Sector (Vacuum Vessel), in which the fusion reaction takes place. The Vacuum Vessel has a weight of 600 tonnes.
Another ground breaking transport carried out by the Mammoet and Scheuerle development.
After four nights on the ITER Itinerary, poloidal field coil #6 (PF6) is delivered to the ITER site. Procured by Europe and manufactured in China, PF6 is the first ITER magnet lowered into the machine assembly pit. Photograph Courtesy of ITER