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Timken Supplies Steel to Superbolt for Particle Accelerator Project

July 9, 2007
CERN's super-collider due to start next spring

July 10, 2007 — The Timken Co. supplied Pittsburgh-based Superbolt Inc. with critical materials needed to manufacture components for one of the world's most advanced scientific instruments.

Superbolt manufactures a patented multi-jackbolt stud/bolt tensioning device, and was selected by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to supply a range of components to CERN's particle-physics laboratory in Switzerland. The 1,400 Torquebolts, Supernuts, and pins, are being used to build 30-foot diameter magnet endcap disks that will be part of the new Large Hadron Collider, an underground particle accelerator to be inaugurated next May — and already anticipated to be the largest and most comlex scientific instrument in the world.

Superbolt needed steel with high hardness ratings that could also be machined, in order to meet the large load and small space requirements for the collider. "The strict requirements differentiated this steel from standard grades," stated Chi Cheung, a Timken sales engineer. "Superbolt presented us the opportunity to engage our engineering know-how to meet the specific and challenging needs for this unique application."

Timken engineers and metallurgists proposed a round bar made from a special high-strength, quenched and tempered alloy steel round bar. This 4.75-in. bar met the strength criteria, but is machinable for Superbolt's specially designed bolts, nuts, and pins. The company ordered 120,000 lb of the steel, to complete the order for 1,400 tensioners. The components were pre-stressed before shipping to Switzerland, and for its effort Superbolt earned top-supplier recognition from CERN.

"We've relied on Timken for more than 20 years for a variety of applications," said Robert Steinbock, president of Superbolt.