All posts by Nadine LAURET

Carbon neutral by 2040

Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc, parent company of Thermocoax, is one of over 40 leading UK companies that has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2040 and one of over 20 companies that has committed to biodiversity net gain.*

The full list of commitments made by Group Chief Executive, Nicholas Anderson, ahead of a Business Leaders Event, organised by the Council for Sustainable Business and DEFRA, on 29th June 2020 include:

Climate change commitments

  • Achieve Net-Zero greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2040.
  • Source 50% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
  • Designate Board accountability for greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Extend our reporting to include Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Certify our greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts with an external body.

 

Biodiversity commitments

  • Establish a 2030 biodiversity net gain target.
  • Identify any harmful direct impacts and dependencies our business has on nature and biodiversity and set targets for reducing them.
  • Commit to publishing the results of our work.

 

The commitments were made on behalf of Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc and all its Group companies.

Speaking of the commitments, Nicholas Anderson said,

“As a large and successful engineering company with a legacy of industry leadership and technical innovation, Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc is well positioned to take a leading role in the transition towards a more environmentally and socially sustainable economy.  I firmly believe that it is our responsibility to be an agent of positive change as we manage and improve our own sustainability and help our customers and suppliers to do the same. These are just some of the commitments that Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc, and its Group companies, will make as we accelerate our Sustainability agenda and performance in the coming years.”   

Dominique Mallet, President of the Electric Thermal Solutions (ETS) business said,

“The time has come for businesses, and society, to take individual and collective responsibility for climate change and biodiversity loss, and to step up our efforts to tackle these important global challenges. I am fully supportive of the commitments made by Nicholas Anderson, our Group Chief Executive, and look forward to delivering progress against them in the coming years. As an organization ETS is developing innovative solutions with our customers to support their targets of energy efficiency and reduction of their own environmental impacts.” 

Progress against these and other sustainability targets will be outlined annually in the Annual Report and Accounts of Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc.

 

* Source: https://councilforsustainablebusiness.com/our-supporters, (Accessed 9th July 2020)

Environment

THERMOCOAX, part of the new space propulsion technology of the key occidental Geosatellite makers.

THERMOCOAX equips with magnetic coils and heating systems to make the platform more reliable and 25 years service life.

The Challenge

Space platform request magnetic coils to produce the thruster of the engine to travel to final orbit and then keep the satellite on the orbit during all his life.

The customer system was looking for component withstand high temperature and long reliability (25 years).

Heating system is used to avoid the engine to rech too low temperature. By this, the engines are fully operational at full power when activated.

These systems need to be fully proven by strict tests and qualifications program. Heavy document have to be provide for a full traceability of the components and production.

The Solution

Based on our homemade mineral insulated cable and our high level of engineering, production and quality management, we design and produce dedicated final systems ready to be mounted on the propulsion system.

 

Choosing electrical propulsion increases the service life of the satellite, means more value for the OEM and more service for the satellite operator.

In pratice, electrical propulsion saves 10 to 15% of volume replaced by payload used for datas that the operator sell to his customers.

 

H2O2 sterilization units for Filling machines

THERMOCOAX H2O2 oven :

THERMOCOAX offers you the possibility of manufacturing your custom designed aseptisation oven that will fit perfectly to your industrial tools.

Our specific solution is widely used by major machine manufacturers for the “dry” sterilisation processes.

We ask our customers to define their specifications in terms of liquid to be used, liquid flow and temperature in order to have the sufficient level of sanitization in their parts before the filling process.

As an expert of electrical heating solutions, Thermocoax will determine the power density of the heating elements necessary to reach your specifications inside the vaporizer.

THERMOCOAX exports its know how all around the word.

We also offer standard version one or two heating zones H2O2 ovens.

Technical characteristics :

H2O2 vaporizer

  • Material: stainless steel 1.4404, 1.4541
  • Heater: Based on Thermocoax mineral insulated cables – vacuum brazed – water tide IP 54 standard
  • Operational power and voltage:
    • one or two heating zones in standard
    • 3 kW, 6 kW / 230 V
    • 6 kW / 400 V
    • Customized specifications on request
  • Temperature range: up to 500°C or higher on request
  • Operating conditions: corrosive media, acids and chemicals
  • Reduced response time

Heating elements : cold end heating element with safety thermocouples for each zone.

H2O2 vaporizer

H2O2 vaporizer

 

 

 

 

 

Fusion reactors : THERMOCOAX cabling solutions in the heart of ITER reactor

THERMOCOAX is committed to develop solutions for new nuclear reactor technologies. We are proud to have been elected as the Mineral Insulated Cable supplier for the ITER project in the frame of  F4E (Fusion For Energy) and ITER international call for tender.

THERMOCOAX will provide Cabling  systems for ITER Vacuum Vessel where harshest conditions are met. We greatly value this contribution to the FUSION reactor technology.

Click here to get the whole article.

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE / COVID-19

In light of the current global COVID-19 situation, Thermocoax has implemented rigorous contingency plans to minimize the impact.   As the situation continues to develop, please be assured we remain committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of both our teams and customers.

We are adhering to local government guidelines and are reviewing the situation on a constant basis. We have put in place clear procedures for our employees to protect their health, including self-isolation, where appropriate.

Many of our customers in multiple key industrial sectors are playing a vital role in positively supporting the current situation.  We realize that their work is of critical importance and our duty is to support them and their processes to enable business continuity, supporting the local community. We have advanced Business Continuity Plans in our business locations to maintain products and services.

As a company, we operate a global manufacturing strategy, with five manufacturing sites around the world, in conjunction with a global footprint of stocked warehouses to ensure a local supply of products.  We can reassure you that we have maintained a good stock profile across our business and continue to work with our supply partners to maintain them.

Finally, we would like to re-assure you that we are in the process of ensuring all our Sales and Service engineers are equipped with full PPE to protect themselves and your employees when they visit site. They are fully briefed on local guidelines for contagion prevention and the importance of social distancing and sanitisation.

We will continue to monitor the situation carefully and will take all necessary steps, at the appropriate time and in line with national and international guidance, to help ensure the safety of our teams, whilst minimizing disruption to all our customers.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

Inès Hamon
General Director – Thermocoax

Gender equality Index at THERMOCOAX

As of 1 March 2020, companies with between 50 and 250 employees are required to calculate a gender equality index to evaluate whether they are taking appropriate action towards gender equality.

This figure is a measure of equal pay for men and women in the world of work, applying the principle of “equal pay for equal work”.

This index takes the form of a score out of 100 and is based on 4 criteria:

  • No pay gap between women and men with the same role and of a similar age,
  • Equal opportunities for a pay rise,
  • The number of employees who received a pay rise upon returning from maternity leave,
  • At least four women in the ten highest paid positions.

For the year 2019, THERMOCOAX scored 76/100.

This performance demonstrates the company’s commitment to diversity and equality and, as always, pushes us to continue to improve on this score in the future.

 

Gender equality Index

 

Nuclear fusion

1.    FUSION: Advantages and CO2 reduction in energy production.

Fusion is a physical principle during which two nuclei combine to generate energy.

For a peaceful application, electricity would be generated through a reactor generating heat, which would then be transferred in a loop to activate a turbine.

There would be numerous advantages of this technology: CO2 free electricity production, minimal waste compared to FISSION reactors, unlimited “raw material” coming from the sea and intrinsic safety. If problems occur, switch off the reactor.

2.    Basic principle

Fusion is the process that occurs in the core of the Sun and stars. When we see light and feel warmth, this is the result of fusion reactions: hydrogen nuclei collide, fuse into heavier helium atoms and release considerable amounts of energy in the process. Fusion is the main source of life in the Universe. To reach an appropriate environmental condition at which the reaction can occur, different vacuum chambers have been developed with Tokamak reactors.

3.    TOKAMAK reactors

A Tokamak reactor is a vessel which uses a strong magnetic field to contain a plasma and ultimately produce a net energy output. It is shaped like a “donut”.

Tokamak stands for the Russian acronym of toroidal chamber with magnetic coils. This scientific device was initially conceptualised in the 1950s in Russia and built in several countries in the 1970s. The most powerful of them being built in UK, the Joint European Torus (JET).

In the 1980s the idea of an international project called ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) was proposed by Russia to the USA.

4.    ITER

ITER (“The Way” in Latin) is designed to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy. ITER is a large-scale scientific experiment that aims to demonstrate the possibility of producing commercial energy from fusion. It is the culmination of sixty years of fusion research, carried out on hundreds of devices all over the world.

ITER is also a unique international collaboration bringing together China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States – seven Members (35 nations).

The ITER Members have a shared responsibility to design, build and operate the ITER installation. Following the establishment of the ITER Organisation and a preparatory site, a unanimous decision was made in 2005 whereby the ITER Members chose a site in the South of France suggested by the European Union.

© ITER Organisation

 

  • A giant device weighing 23,000 tonnes. A fusion energy generating 500 MW of output power.
  • The World’s largest vacuum vessel, heavier than the Eiffel tower.
  • A plasma temperature of 150 million °C, x 10 the core temperature of the sun.
  • And when less than 10 metres away, there is a magnet temperature of -269°C (4K°).

5.   ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGIES

Nowadays multiple initiatives are receiving funding. Some new projects have been launched in the US, in the UK and in China. Plasma is a question of density. To increase plasma density and release more energy than  required in order to initiate the plasma, some compression techniques are combined to magnetic confinement. The future reactor will be more compact, simpler, more stable and cheaper.

6.    THERMOCOAX INVOLVEMENT

THERMOCOAX fully supports FUSION technology. Over the years and through projects like JET, we have accumulated experience and developed specific solutions for the FUSION reactor.

THERMOCOAX technology -Mineral Insulated cable- is ideal for harsh environments with fluctuating temperatures, high levels of radiation, a high vacuum or a high magnetic field.

THX can offer solutions such as:

CABLING: In-vessel cabling, penetration feedthrough

SENSORS: Temperature and magnetic field measurement

HEATING: Backing of small items or massive pieces of steel forming the vacuum vessel

Our integrated nuclear department (engineering, qualification, quality assurance, production) coordinated by our project department develops bespoke solutions, in which norms and regulations play a critical role.

 

 

Anticipate today on future nuclear supply chain standards to maintain highest requirement in term of safety culture, quality and competitiveness.

WNE will be coming up mid 2020. We are actively preparing our stand booth to warmely welcome you. While waiting for this great event, let’s share with you our paper on ISO 19443 and Skills & Knowledge Management. We had the pleasure to be part of the nominees’ list for the 2018 WNE award.

In an effort to be ready at the time of the implementation of this new standard, THERMOCOAX puts the emphasis overs the last three years on Skills & Knowledge Management.

How do we put it in practice? Hereafter a brief description of the organization we put in place.

COMEX commitment: On the supervision of the CEO, Mr Patrice GUILLON – Quality director- and Mme Michèle CHAUMONT -HR director- are promoting Skills & Knowledge management in the Group Management Manual. Nuclear business unit is related to our French entity THERMOCOAX SAS only but this Skills & Knowledge Management is considered at a group level.

Click here

From the beginning (integration of news staff), recruiting process defines clearly what are the responsibilities and Authorities.

Project after project, THERMOCOAX has developed proprietary solutions mainly based on our MI cable technology. To make them available to the engineering staff, Manufacturing skills are identified and listed. Mentoring of the engineering department new comers associated with training “on the field” in all workshop allows a comprehension of technics and their implementation difficulties and limits. An expert senior engineer is made available to ensure a smooth implementation of existing Manufacturing skills and their implementation in new designs.

 

Each COMEX member proposes through a yearly assessment and a CEO approval trainings to managers who in return are doing the same with their N-1.

 

On a yearly basis and based on specialized questionnaires on individual competencies so that competencies matrix can be updated and training plan defined accordingly. On an individual level, very specific skills and knowledge but also processes are followed individually through internal tolls developed on ACCESS & Excel.

In order to capitalise and materialize THERMOCOAX key Know How, the technical director is in charge of the definition of the core competencies of THERMOCOAX. This document has been initiated at the time of a very specific project where THERMOCOAX took a significant role in the development of a Post Fukushima sensor along with CEA / AREVA/ IRSN ( “Investissement d’avenir “ supported by French Government).

 

At a technician and operator levels, procedure are made to be directly understood; a picture being far more comprehensible than a long description. Both cumulated they facilitate operators comprehensions.

 

 

Under the responsibility of the technical director, it is the duty of the R&D department to anticipate on future requirement in term of Know Why and – through partnership with universities, research institutes (For instance: CNRT for advance material dielectric behaviour, SCK-CEN for In Core simulation related to Neutron sensors) to launch survey on fundamental knowledge on specific topics declared to be strategic and turn them into new technologies.

 

 

As a recognition of our expertise based on specialized technological components, THERMOCOAX has been entrusted of several Transfer Of Technology (TOT) by reputable companies like AREVA or GE.

 

 The nuclear safety culture is a fundamental part of our training cycle. All the actions launched by the Management demonstrate a firm commitment in this culture so that every individual understands its total responsibility in the nuclear safety.

 

Competitiveness On the basis of our identification of the knowledge and skills of our staff, we have in hand powerful tools to meet the most demanding requirements of our customers. Our methods of qualification of personnel directly related to the matrices of competences demonstrated their efficiency and their completeness. They are a means of effective differentiation for the selection of our company through the demonstration of our mastery of our know-how.

Inconel 625 signal transmission solutions for high-pressure applications

THERMOCOAX is used to meeting the highest standards, with more than 60 years’ experience in the nuclear and aviation industries.

We are able to manufacture and weld various materials in-house.

We had the opportunity to work with Inconel 625 to ensure the requirements were met for deep-sea in terms of pressure, tightness, and reliability.

We worked on a transmission cables solution, including feedthroughs and mechanical parts.

The main focus of the solution was the sealing at the welds.

We used our internal welding and testing capabilities to develop a multi-conductor solution for signal transmission. We now offer signal transmission solutions for up to 8 conductors.

THERMOCOAX internal capabilities:

  • Welding capabilities: TIG, plasma, laser
  • Testing capabilities: FPI, X-ray, ESS, macrography, penetrant testing level 4

 

THERMOCOAX mineral-insulated cables are able to operate when subject to 300 bars of pressure (when 3,000m/10,000ft under water) for 30 years.

They have been subject to up to 450 bars of pressure during the qualification process.

Our solution is compliant with ASME BPVC Section IX.

 The THERMOCOAX mineral-insulated cable is an alternative to polymer-based power and control cable systems :

– Suitable for high temperatures/high pressures
– Not thermally degradable
– Not susceptible to fluid getting into the sheath
Easier to connect and interface with other equipment: no need for pressure- adaption devices.

         => Lower CAPEX, longer lifetime

Our mineral-insulated cable solutions can be used in critical environments for electrical power and control.

One use is for subsea equipment.

For example :

– Pumping systems
– Transformers
– Heating systems
– Power supplies for control systems
– Valves
– Sensing devices
– Metering devices
– Blowout preventers

 

THERMOCOAX works with a permanent improvement strategy in terms of:

  • Design
  • Manufacturing process
  • Cost reduction

 

 We adapt to customers’ specific requests.

THERMOCOAX is fully established in the US and supplies ASIA directly.

Thermal chucks and pedestals for ALD deposition processes

Thermal chucks for front-end wafer processes have demanding specifications and require constant improvement and innovation.

We are working closely with our OEM customers on improving our thermal chuck specifications to reduce the manufacturing deposition cycle time, to increase the yield in wafer production, and to be able to work with new precursors.

Temperatre uniformity across the surface of the chuck is always our first priority when we design a new chuck.

To achieve the uniformity our customers want, we custom design the chucks, from the heating cable to the plate material.

We are able to do this because we design and manufacture our own Mineral Insulated Cables inhouse. We adapt the internal structure of the cables to ensure the best quality when it comes to the finished product’s temperature uniformity, while conforming to the maximum temperature restrictions, with multiple heating zones.

The temperature control on the surface of the chuck is important for the process. We use fast response time thermocouples on different areas of the plate. At the prototyping phase,  we use more precise solutions to guarantee the temperature is uniform across the surface of the chuck and to control the gradient between the different heating zones.

Detailed thermal analysis is used for ensuring temperature uniformity across the wafer.

The transfer of heat between the chuck and the wafer affects the temperature uniformity and the wafer’s temperature requirements.

We offer several texturing solutions that improve this parameter.

The mechanical support is also important, including the design of the plate and the material used.

Our in-house high precision machining capabilities are a real asset at the prototyping phase and then for high-volume manufacturing.

Specific heat treatments and coatings can be used to meet high expectations and demanding specifications from our customers.

Our thermal chucks are used in ultra high vacuum and corrosive enviroments. The choice of the material and the welding process used for the encapsulation plates and for fixing the mineral insulated cable to the plate is essential.

The material means it requires to be cleaned less frequently on manufacturing . The welding process guarantees that there is no outgassing of the material in the deposition chamber.

 

FROM PROTOTYPING TO HIGH-VOLUME MANUFACTURING

We design and manufacture the chucks in-house and control the dimensions with high-performing tridimensional CMM control facilities.

 

 

THERMOCOAX  metal chucks are available in stainless steel, Inconel or a special alloy offering high dimensional stability.

  • diameters of up to 450mm (18″).
  • up to 7 state of the art separate heating zones
  • Maximum temperatures of up to 900°C.

The temperature of each heating zone is controlled independently.

We meet the requirements of the SEMICON market in terms of repeatability, temperature uniformity, production control, quality monitoring and COPY EXACT for high-volume manufacturing.

We adapt the feedthrough by offering customised bushings and flanges.

The following are also optional:

  • A cooling channel
  • A gas line
  • Vacuum wafer sucking
  • Anti-slice grooving

THERMOCOAX is constantly striving to improve in the following areas:

  • Design
  • Manufacturing process
  • Cost reduction

  

We are highly adaptable to customers’ specific requests

THERMOCOAX has a full-scale presence in the US and supplies ASIA directly.