LHC: seven golden suppliers

The fourth CERN Golden Hadron awards saw seven of the LHC's best suppliers receive recognition for the high quality of their work, compliance with delivery deadlines, flexibility and adaptability to the demanding working conditions of the project.

The representatives of the seven companies which received awards during the Golden Hadron ceremony, standing with Lyn Evans, LHC Project Leader.

'The Golden Hadron awards are a symbol of our appreciation of not only the quality and timely delivery of components but also the collaborative and flexible way the firms have contributed to this very difficult project,' said Lyn Evans, head of the LHC project.

The awards went to Kemppi-Kempower (Finland), Metso Powdermet (Finland), Transtechnik (Germany), Babcock Noell Nuclear (Germany), Iniziative Industriali (Italy), ZTS VVU Kosice (Slovakia), and Jehier (France).

Babock Noell Nuclear (BNN) successfully produced one-third (416 cold dipole masses) of the LHC's superconducting dipole magnets, one of the most critical and complex components for the LHC. Furthermore, BNN produced the magnets eight months ahead of the contract deadline, delivering high quality magnets with an exceptional performance, despite the insolvency of its parent company in 2002.

Finland's Metso Powdermet was responsible for manufacturing most of the end covers for the LHC superconducting magnets and other cryogenic equipment. Metso stepped in and launched a 'crash programme' after the company originally holding the pre-series contract refused to deliver. Metso adapted its unique powder metallurgy technique, involving melting fine metal powder in a process that replaces welding and reduces costs, to the needs of the LHC.

Jehier have designed, and are now producing and delivering, Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) blankets for the superconducting magnets of the LHC, fulfilling CERN specifications. And moreover, even after delivery of thousands of MLI blanket sets, not a single case of non-compliance has been registered. Jehier demonstrated its goodwill and flexibility to adapt its production to the numerous CERN requests when, during the QRL crisis and the associated repair 'crash programme', it made considerable efforts to supply at short notice.

Both Kemppi-Kempower and Transtechnik were recognised for their outstanding achievements in designing and producing high performance power converters for the LHC.

A leading manufacturer of arc welding equipment, Kemppi-Kempower produced the only workable prototype of the high current and high precision converter when faced with competition in 2002 from two other suppliers. Subsequently, they received the contract for pre-series and series delivery, and by July 2005, 82 power converters had been delivered and accepted, constituting 42% of the total production.

At the end of 2002, Transtechnik, who provide Power electronics for railway applications, went bankrupt after they had already delivered successful prototypes of the main quadrupole power converters and four-quadrant power converters for the LHC. Fortunately, another firm, Drosten, took Transtechnik over and all the key engineers remained with the company, proud to continue on the LHC project. Transtechnik are now back on schedule, having recovered the time lost due to their difficult financial period.

Since 2003, Iniziative Industriali have installed more than 1600 tons of steel structures and kilometres of piping in the LHC tunnel and underground caverns. This is an even greater achievement, in view of the fact that over half the steel structure design specification drawings were unavailable when the contract was initially signed. Iniziative Industriali and its subcontractors have flexibly adapted their means of production to satisfy CERN's requirements.

The LHC required the development of very high-tech handling devices due to the demands of installing big, heavy and fragile cryomagnets within the very confined space of the LHC tunnel. Specialists in the field of machine engineering and electro-technical products, ZTS VVU Kosice, manufactured five Transfer Equipment Sets (TES) for CERN. These robots are able, with high precision (0.1 mm), to carry the cryomagnets from the transport vehicles inside the tunnel and align them with the magnets' support jacks.

All the award winners will receive engraved plaques from CERN in recognition of their excellent achievements and hard work in meeting the demands of the LHC project.