Awards highlight top suppliers

29 April 2001


The CMS and ATLAS collaborations currently building experiments for CERN’s LHC collider have recently been handing out their very own Oscars to their most meritorious suppliers.

At the second such ceremony held at the recent CMS week at CERN, four CMS suppliers received Gold Awards, and the exceptional work by two of them was further rewarded with the CMS Crystal Award for innovation and management.

One Crystal Award went to Japanese firm Kawasaki Heavy Industries which, under a contract with the University of Wisconsin, manufactured six steel discs 15 m in diameter making up the two endcaps of the yoke. Reassembled, the two thinner discs at each end will weigh 300 tonnes, the two intermediate ones 700 tonnes and the two innermost discs 1250 tonnes.

The other Crystal Award recipient was Fermilab contractor Felguera Construcciones Mecanicas, the Spanish firm which produced the wedge-shaped structures for the two 550 tonne half-barrels of the CMS hadron calorimeter. This involved in the region of 1100 tonnes of brass plates, the largest some 4 m in length and weighing in at more than a tonne.


The two other companies to receive CMS Gold Awards were Hudong Heavy Machinery, under the CERN-China agreement, for the 30 tonne support carts for each endcap disc, and the American firm Superbolt for more than 1500 high-strength bolts for the endcap discs.

CMS also presented its prize for the most outstanding PhD thesis of 2000. It was the first time such an award has been handed out to underline the important contribution made by students’ work. The winner was Pascal Vanlaer of the Université Libre de Bruxelles for his R&D work on microstrip gas counters and the reconstruction of charged particle tracks.

Just four days earlier, the ATLAS collaboration had organized its first supplier award ceremony. “Firms really appreciate this,” explained ATLAS financial coordinator Markus Nordberg, “because being a CERN supplier is a reference and generates important marketing spin-offs.”

One ATLAS award went to a small UK family business, Lamina Dielectrics, which manufactured the 180 000 straws for the Transition Radiation Tracker. These 1.66 m long polyimide (Kapton) tubes are just 4 mm in diameter and are manufactured to a tolerance of 15 µm. Each straw is produced by winding and bonding together two thin strips of film coated with aluminium and graphite on one side and polyurethane on the other.

The other ATLAS award-winner was Czech firm Valvovna, supplier of 3000 tonnes of steel sheeting for the ATLAS barrel’s tile hadron calorimeter. Even more impressive than the quantity was the precision obtained over the entire manufacturing process. The trapezoidal plates, 4 and 5 mm thick, were manufactured to a tolerance of 0.04 mm.

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