The LHC's suppliers come up trumps

Four of the LHC Project's most exceptional suppliers have just been honoured in the fifth Golden Hadron awards ceremony. For the first time, a CERN team was among the prize-winners.

The CERN main workshop (Mechanical and Materials Engineering group, TS/MME) received the Golden Hadron Award at the prize-giving ceremony held at the Globe. From left to right, Saïd Atieh (TS/MME), Vincent Vuillemin (TS/MME group leader), Michel Caccioppoli (TS/MME), Lyn Evans (LHC Project Leader), Marc Polini (TS/MME-MS section leader), Jean-Luc Gayraud (Cegelec), Jean-Paul Bacher (TS/MME-AS section leader) and Paolo Ciriani (head of the TS Department).

Flexible, responsive, committed... all fitting adjectives to describe the recipients of the fifth Golden Hadron awards. The prizes, designed to honour the LHC Project's best suppliers, were awarded to a total of four suppliers, including two that are involved in the final accelerator assembly work: proof, if it were needed, that the project has now entered its final phase.

Draka Comteq Telecom B.V. from The Netherlands and its installation partner, Mauerhofer & Zuber from Lausanne/CH, supplied and installed the optical fibre cabling system for data transmission for the LHC, three of its experiments (ALICE, CMS, LHCb) and around the CERN sites. The project is the world's largest optical fibre project in terms of density and complexity and is well-known in the optical fibre industry. During the installation process, high-pressure air-blowing devices were used to blow the optical fibre cables into their protective tubes. Using a patented micro-lubricator unit, it even broke a world record inside the LHC tunnel for the longest length of cable blown into a tube in one go. Draka Comteq Telecom demonstrated competence and determination to succeed from the outset of this complex project. Throughout the process, it was flexible and helpful and responded well to difficult emergencies. All the work was done to specifications, cost estimates and planned procedures and was carried out in an excellent spirit of cooperation with all parties at CERN.

The ICS consortium (Intertec Holding A/S/B&S - Cegelec centre-est - Amec Spie sud-est) is responsible for the assembly of the cryomagnets, an activity which began in 2002 and is due to be completed next spring. The work requires no fewer than 1232 dipole magnets and 474 short straight sections to be prepared and assembled in their cryostats. The dipole magnets, each weighing 35 tonnes and measuring 15 metres in length, created many different technical challenges in terms of logistics, handling and the extreme precision required for the assembly. The assembly of the short straight sections is also very complex owing to the large number of configurations and the many different components involved.

ICS not only met its contractual obligations to the letter but demonstrated great flexibility in agreeing to take on additional tasks, namely part of the repair work on the faulty modules of the QRL cryogenic line in 2004, including during the Christmas holidays. It also performed some of the QRL reinstallation work in Sector 7-8. Finally, the consortium carried out preparatory work on the distribution feedboxes (DFBs). ICS richly deserves its award for the commitment it has demonstrated over and above its contractual obligations. The consortium called on the services of 150 people on three different CERN sites, representing a total of some 800000 working hours!

The Italian company Rial vacuum manufactured some very special components for the cryostats of the short straight sections, including around a hundred vacuum barriers. These highly complex components, which will play a vital role in keeping the sections under vacuum and to the correct cryogenic temperatures, were completed on time and to an excellent standard of quality. Moreover, Rial took over the responsibility for making components that should have been produced by other companies. Rial has shown a high level of flexibility, seeking alternative solutions, questioning technical aspects and reorganising production where necessary.

Finally, a Golden Hadron Award was presented to a CERN team for the very first time. The CERN main workshop (TS/MME) received the award in recognition of its exceptional contributions to the LHC in times of crisis. The main workshop (Mechanics and Subcontracting, Assembly Techniques, and Surface Treatment) comprises approximately 90 people providing practical and technical expertise for multidisciplinary projects, tackling difficult techniques and helping with emergencies.

For the LHC's cryogenic distribution line (QRL), they repaired some faulty components and assembled half of the first sector. They also repaired most of the service modules and elbows. For the distribution feed boxes (DFBs), they helped to manufacture, assemble and test the complex systems that transfer electric current from room temperature to cryogenic temperature. As a result of all the LHC-related activities, the workshop's workload has increased five-fold for a period of two to three years to help meet strict project deadlines. Its swift responses to emergencies, quality of work, professionalism and result-driven attitude are greatly appreciated by all those who have worked with it.

The four award winners were presented with an engraved plaque at a prize ceremony held in the Globe of Science and Innovation on 22 November.