The French company Axon’Cable designs and manufactures innovative cabling, interconnect solutions, cable assemblies, connectors and mini systems for high tech applications. To tackle the challenges of the quench detection system of the ITER magnets, especially on the voltage tap wires and feeder cables, Axon’ developed a process allowing the use of thermoplastic polymide (TPI) for wires and cables insulation. This high-performance material offers extremely low UHV outgassing, outstanding gamma and neutron radiation resistance and a temperature range from 2K to 240°C, which make it especially relevant for nuclear fusion applications.

A dedicated production line now used to address the needs of 30 customers worldwide

Between 2012-2018, Axon’ designed and implemented a dedicated production line for TPI insulated cables and wires. Another investment was made to develop a specific laser marking machine to be able to mark identification text on these cables (this was necessary since TPI cannot be marked permanently by any usual means). This laser marking machine is now completely integrated in the production line.

Since 2017, the technology has found more applications throughout the tokamak, and has also been successfully transferred to several other non-fusion applications: nuclear power, space, various big science facilities, industrial sensors etc. To this day, Axon has more than 30 customers worldwide (among them : CERN, ESRF, ELI BEAMS, IPP, ESS) who use this technology and related production line, and new applications are being found regularly thanks to the numerous benefits of thermoplastic polymide insulation (lowest known outgassing in all organic insulation materials, longer lifespan due to higher radiation hardness, ability to provide reliable high voltage insulation in cryogenics, vacuum, radiation environment). It represents a volume of over 100 km/year (outside fusion), and the market is steadily growing.

100km/year of cables produced outside fusion, increased sales and jobs creations: the positive impacts of developing a process for ITER’s wires and cables

The collaboration with ITER has today outstanding positive impacts for AXON’ cable: increased visibility and capability to address the challenges of big sciences projects and demanding environments, an increase of few % of the cable sales thanks to the contracts outside fusion, as well as the creation of one skilled full-time job to manage the production line besides indirect jobs created in R&D and engineering. A full technical and commercial documentation was issued, and training was provided to the engineering and sales staff worldwide to introduce this new product on the market.