CERN research institute praises Machinefabriek Boessenkool



In September 2019, the CERN Research Institute in Geneva – known worldwide for the LHC, the most powerful particle accelerator in the world – outsourced a unique assignment for the Netherlands to the Boessenkool machine factory in Almelo. The total order concerns the delivery of 38 vacuum vessels, or vacuum tubes, with a length of 5 to 13 meters for the LHC. The first series of six tubes was recently received in the presence of Mike Struik, project manager at CERN. 

“It is special that Boessenkool has won this order, because CERN is obliged to tender its contracts in the 23 member states which means that there is a lot of potential competition. Project leader Jasper Brugman van Boessenkool executed this complex tender very well,” says Struik. 

Mike Struik, project manager at CERN: “Machinefabriek Boessenkool shows once again that they have a lot of craftsmanship and flexibility.”

Satisfied with quality and flexibility
The tubes that Boessenkool supplies are suitable for UHV, Ultra High Vacuum. They form the shell of the magnets, the superconductors, with which research is carried out into the smallest particles on earth. The surfaces and connections of these vacuum vessels must therefore meet high quality requirements. They must be machined very precisely to ensure that the protons are accelerated in a very precise orbit and that vacuum tightness is guaranteed. Struik: “It shows that Boessenkool has a lot of craftsmanship, such as in the field of certified welding, extremely precise large machining to machine construction and ultimately Ultra High Vacuum leak tests. In addition, we at CERN are very satisfied with the flexibility of Boessenkool. We already knew that because we have been a Boessenkool customer for some time, but this order confirms once again the good relationship we have. Normally I also come by about once a month for consultation and evaluation. That is not possible at the moment, but despite this the communication, via video calling or by telephone, is going well.”

About CERN

Located in Geneva, CERN is a research institute that conducts groundbreaking scientific research into the smallest particles on Earth. The so-called LHC, Large Hydron Collider, was built for this purpose. This particle accelerator is located 100 meters underground and measures 27 kilometers in circumference. In this collider, particles, mainly protons, are collided at a very high speed by superconductivity and near absolute zero (1.9 Kelvin). As a result, even smaller particles are formed in the collision by fission (energy is converted into mass). By researching the effects of such a collision, highly specialized new knowledge is gained and groundbreaking new technologies are discovered and developed.

The future
This contract for CERN has a total lead time of 2.5 years. “The tubes are intended for a phase in our project in which we are going to replace existing tubes with a more modern version, so an upgrade. And the techniques for developing and making superconductors continue to evolve. This project is far from reaching its final stage. On the contrary, there is a plan to build one of no less than 100 kilometers next to the existing tunnel of 27 kilometers in length.” That sounds as if Boessenkool may have even more assignments ahead of it. “We should not rule that out, but new contracts are not awarded on the basis of previous, successful contracts or awards, but on the basis of new tenders. Boessenkool will then have to go through such a route again, the CERN regulations are simply put together that way. But we now know that they can make good offers.”

Photos: © 2018-2021 CERN