Fermilab and partners complete installation of cryostat tooling for HL-LHC Accelerator Upgrade Project

In late February, the HL-LHC Accelerator Upgrade Project achieved a major milestone: the completion of the project’s cryostat tooling installation. This task required a coordinated effort between CERN, Fermilab and a Spanish vendor, Applus+. For various reasons, we had to readjust our schedules and expectations several times on the road to achieving this milestone. Thanks to our team’s hard work, the effort was successful.

AUP is on track to deliver to CERN 10 full cryoassemblies that contain state-of-the-art niobium-tin quadrupole magnets. Quadrupole fabrication is divided evenly among Berkeley Lab, Brookhaven Lab and Fermilab. The magnets were cold-tested at the Brookhaven Vertical Test Facility and then sent to Fermilab, which is responsible for assembling the cold masses, pressure vessels that contain the magnets. The final steps are to “dress” an individual cold mass with the relevant shielding material and cryogenic pipes and insert it into a vacuum vessel. With that, we create a 10-meter-long cryoassembly that weights 22 metric tons.

The final step requires sophisticated tooling, named cryogenic tooling.

The cryostat tooling is installed in Industrial Center Building A. The winch (right) will pull the dressed cold mass from the assembly table (left) into the vacuum vessel, which will be supported on the alignment stations (center). Photo: Sandor Feher

CERN oversaw the procurement of the cryogenic tooling. The selected vendor, Applus+, designed and manufactured the tooling in little over one year, despite 2020’s setbacks. Originally, the plan was for the vendor to travel to Fermilab for the tooling installation, an effort that proved very challenging. The tooling arrived in early October 2020, but it was not clear at that time that we would be able to bring over workers from Spain. Eventually, we developed an alternative plan. We began the installation with remote assistance by Applus+. Our communication tool was Hololens, which had already been used successfully by Brookhaven last summer. Then we found a solution in which one engineer and one technician from Applus+ could travel to the U.S. and join the Fermilab crew.

At the end of the day, everything went smoothly. The installation was completed within two weeks.

This effort would not have been successful without the attentiveness of the AUP management and a dedicated Fermilab material handling and installation crew that included Thomas Strauss, Roger Rabehl, Kelly Sedgwick, Elizardo Arteaga, Daniel Assell, Darrell Frye, Roger Milholland, Alex Saracino, David Sowell, Brent Sylvester, Mark Thompson, Nicklas Unold and Timothy Zolli.

Fermilab scientist Sandor Feher is a level 2 manager for the HL-LHC Accelerator Upgrade Project.