CERN signs contract with BUMAX for LHC particle accelerator upgrade

Scientific research institute, CERN, has signed a contract with stainless steel fastener manufacturer BUMAX for more than a quarter of a million fasteners to be used in the upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator in Switzerland.

BUMAX will supply 130,000 high strength premium stainless steel fasteners each year across the two-year project, which will increase the LHC’s energy to 14 trillion electron volts.

Located at CERN’s particle physics laboratory near Geneva, the LHC consists of a 27 km ring of superconducting magnets with a number of accelerating structures to boost the energy of the particles along the way. To avoid resistance or loss of energy, the magnets need to be chilled down to -271.3°c, a temperature colder than outer space.

To cope with these extreme conditions, CERN opted to use BUMAX 190 to replace all existing fasteners in the collider. The LHC requires high strength fasteners with a low magnetic permeability and cobalt content, as well as the ability to withstand both near absolute zero temperatures and high temperatures during bake-out (300°c).

BUMAX 109 was deemed best suited to meet these requirements, including non-interference with the movement of particles and magnetic field in the accelerator.

Partik Lundström Törnquist, BUMAX Managing Director, said: “We are extremely happy and proud to be awarded such a prestigious assignment from CERN, to supply one of humankind’s most advanced constructions with instrumental parts.

“It is definitely one of the most demanding and challenging applications you oculd ever imagine, and we are confident that our premium products are up to the task – and once again prove that BUMAX fasteners are the best of the best.”

BUMAX also collaborated with CERN to successfully trial the use of silver coating on BUMAX products to reduce galling (mechanical wear caused by adhesion between sliding surfaces). Since the trials, BUMAX has started to offer silver coating to other customers with the norm CERN 507.