The first tests have obtained very satisfactory results.
The Automatic unit of the Advanced Technology Centre of Equipos Nucleares S.A., S.M.E has designed an extendable welding lance that allows reaching the most complicated and deepest areas of the components of the ITER project.
One of the fundamental points in the welding of these elements is the manual punching of the plates that join the components of «sectors and ports» that will later be welded by the robots. These components are double-walled and the work has to be carried out from the inside. The fact that they have double walls makes the access in a good part of the areas to the most external wall a tremendously difficult task due to the space that separates both walls.
The mast of the lance, designed by Automatic, can be modified in length and the torch has a ball-and-socket joint that allows the working angle of the tungsten to be adjusted slightly. In addition, it has been incorporated a wire feeding system with adjustable position and speed and a camera next to a screen that allows to see the development of the weld during the work.
The first tests with the equipment were carried out on the welding of the first set of sheets of the ITER model and very satisfactory results were obtained.