Digital valve system for ITER remote handling – Design and prototype testing
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ITER-RH system is used to exchange the divertor’s 54 cassette assemblies in the vessel. Water hydraulics and servo valves are currently used in the task but concerns exist with robustness and availability of suitable components. An alternative option is to use digital technology where on/off valves and intelligent control is used to produce proportional output. So far, no proper high-pressure on/off valves existed in the market and therefore a new concept was developed and tested with promising results. A mock-up of the remote handling system was used as test bench. The system was simulated in order to dimension the valve system and to tune the valve controller. A complete valve package with 16 prototype on/off valves and a manifold was manufactured and long-term tests of 60 working days was conducted. A new level of performance was demonstrated throughout the tests as tracking accuracies were approximately ten times better than with servo valve. Although some design faults where detected and system had faulty components, tracking accuracy was very good. Tracking and positioning capability of digital valve system exceeds all requirements and seems applicable for ITER RH application.