Cerca - Romans
Case Study Cerca - Romans

Aligning CERN Collimators with Two Articulated Arms

Particle physics is a key component in searching for new methods for achieving high energy levels. What is the origin of particle mass? Do neutrinos really weigh nothing? The new CERN particle accelerator, the so-called LHC (Large Hadron Collider) will help in the search for answers to those questions, helping offer insight into the very nature of matter. The LHC is the most powerful instrument ever built for the purpose of researching the characteristics of elementary particles.

The efficiency of the LHC is primarily based on its extremely intense beam (i.e. its densification to energy and its fineness). The challenge lies in keeping this high beam intensity within the accelerator and the storage ring, all the way to the collision points and the final result of the scientific experiment being conducted – all this despite the enormous energy levels achieved in the particle rays. To guarantee protection from any kind of path deviation and dimensional variation, CERN intends to install a total of 125 collimators in the two of the most radioactive areas of the accelerator ring. No quality, high-capacity beam – and, consequently, no usable scientific results – are possible without extremely robust collimation.

CERN has approached Service de Mécanique Nucléaire (SMN) from CERCA, a company within the AREVA group in Romans, with the task of producing the 125 collimators. Under strong international competition, the decision to go with CERCA was in part based on the positive experiences in the 1990s, when CERCA delivered parts for the super-conducting accelerator for the LEP ring (Large Electron Positron Collider). CERCA – Compagnie pour l’Etude et la Réalisation de Combustibles Atomiques (Society for the Development and Production of Nuclear Fuels) – was thus entrusted with the job of „artisan“ serial production of an array of high-tech prototypes. . . . .

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