'At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. They use the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter - the fundamental particles. The particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives the physicists clues about how the particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature', explains the official CERN website.
The instruments used at CERN are purpose-built particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before the beams are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions. Precision and reliability are expected at every stage of the development. CERN trusts Fischer Connectors for essential connectivity needs in measurement tools, vacuum pumps and chambers for monitoring and safety devices.
'If we were last century and still logging measurements on CDs, we could pile them up all the way to the moon and back', jokes Mr. Francesco Bertinelli, Mechanicals and Materials Engineering Group Leader at the CERN. 'To force particle collisions and make sure we record them adequately, we develop very large machines made of very small components like connectors that once chosen you never go back to, unless there is an issue. Our collaboration with Fischer Connectors is efficient and they provide us with products meeting our requirements.'
Almost 1,000 engineers and 1,000 technicians work at CERN to understand and uncover some of our universe mysteries, and they need the right tools and the right suppliers to support them in their research. What would be the point of developing the world’s most powerful particle accelerator if at the time of impact your measurement device breaks down due to a faulty connection?
That’s where Fischer Connectors comes in with expertise, reliability and innovation.
‘We understand CERN’s objectives, obligations and limitations and so we work together to provide the right solutions to their very unique and specific needs', explains Olivier Denis, Fischer Connectors’ Key Account Manager who previously worked for CERN for five years. ‘As with all our customers, we deliver a complete solution based on connectors and cable assemblies, together with the level of service that must come with it. We help to find answers to your connectivity challenges and will ensure support to your project throughout its development answers.’
The Fischer Core Series of rugged, sealed connectors is one of Fischer Connectors' building blocks and was originally designed in 1954 by Walter Werner Fischer, a specialized engineer who knew very well the limitations of the connectivity solutions in vacuum environments. Mr. Fischer developed the first sealed connector, and ten years later in 1964, the world’s first hermetic connector, both major breakthroughs for the industry.
Vacuum environments are extremely common within the CERN facilities. Pumps that remove the gas molecules from a sealed volume to create partial vacuum or complete vacuum chambers are only a few places where you can find our hermetic solutions.
Another product line used at CERN is the Fischer Ultimate™ Series selected thanks to its increased ruggedness that withstands more demanding environments than a classic research lab. It is particularly suited for a busy environment like the CERN facilities where there can be a lot of electromagnetic interferences to avoid (thanks to its 360° EMC shielding), or where temperatures can have extreme variations depending on the experiments conducted (from -55° to +135°C).
‘We provide proven, reliable connectors and cable assemblies in a fast and efficient manner, since all aspects of the partnership with CERN and with all our customers are important; it’s not just the product we deliver, but also how we deliver it and when. There is no room for mistakes or delays at any time’, confirms Denis. 'My contacts know me, my back office knows me, my customer service team knows me. In short, all the people they need and more are making sure their research and measurements logging can continue along their original planning, and not along their suppliers’ planning.'
Building long-term relationships with our customers is our main objective with any project or product Fischer Connectors engages in. There are two elements needed: First trust; and second, reliability of products and services.
Then we add our innovative thinking which allows us to not only know what performance our customers need from our products today, but also what performance they will need from our products in the next few years.
Engineering for CERN, especially in cryogenics, superconductivity, vacuum, microelectronics and civil engineering, gives companies experience that they can apply elsewhere. After all, the World Wide Web was invented at CERN to help particle physicists around the world to communicate. Also, particle detectors are used for example in techniques for medical diagnosis, medical imaging, particle therapy or tomography.
Our latest innovation, the Fischer FiberOptic Series answers some of CERN's demands for fast secure data transmission and also a more extended market for use indoors, outdoors and in very challenging environments.
It is particularly adapted to the difficult conditions of a test site that can span over dozens of kilometres, is above or below the ground like CERN is, with its Ingress Protection ratings of IP67 unmated and IP68 mated, so the optical performance is unchanged no matter what the weather conditions are. That way the communications or measuring equipment around the location are protected and performance is constant.
Sustainable and continuous improvements to our supply chain, along with modernization of tools, equipment, and methods of manufacturing allow us to deliver to promise on time, on cost and on experience. Logistics are vital to the success of all projects, so we have put the systems and processes in place to meet our customers demand.