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Timken Steel Technology Used in CERN's Hadron Collider

The Timken Company's steel technology helped Superbolt, Inc. provide equipment to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and its large particle physics laboratory located near Geneva, Switzerland. Timken(R) quality alloy steel was used in CERN's flagship project, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is located underground along the Franco-Swiss border. Experts have said the LHC, a particle accelerator, will be the world's largest and most complex scientific instrument when it is scheduled to be switched on in May 2008.

Superbolt, a Pittsburgh-based manufacturer of patented multi-jackbolt stud/bolt tensioning devices, was selected to provide 1,400 Torquebolts(R), Supernuts(R) and pins. Those components were used in the assembly of 30-foot diameter magnet endcap disks inside the underground tunnel that holds the collider. To meet the large load and small space requirements for the collider, Superbolt required steel with a particularly high hardness rating that also could be machinable.

"The strict requirements differentiated this steel from standard grades," said Chi Cheung, Timken sales engineer specialist who worked with Superbolt on this application. "Superbolt presented us the opportunity to engage our engineering know-how to meet the specific and challenging needs for this unique application."

Engineers and metallurgists at Timken reviewed the requirements and proposed a special high-strength, quenched and tempered alloy steel round bar. This 4.75-inch round bar met the strength criteria yet allowed for easy machining into specially designed Superbolt style bolts, nuts and related pins.

"We've relied on Timken for more than 20 years for a variety of applications," said Robert Steinbock, president of Superbolt. "When bidding the business for CERN, we had to have a product on which we could depend for this unique application and a supplier to meet our timetable. We naturally turned to Timken, and we are pleased with the results."

To complete its commitment to the LHC project, Superbolt ordered 120,000 pounds of Timken steel to make 1,400 bolt style tensioners. The Torquebolts(R) were pre-stressed and then shipped to CERN for installation. Superbolt was recognized as a top supplier by CERN during its annual awards program.

"Our ability to provide differentiated solutions for rugged and demanding applications like this underground laboratory allows us to deliver tangible value that helps improve our customers' performance," said Salvatore J. Miraglia, Jr., president of Timken's steel business. "We are a company that understands the science of metallurgy and the composition of metals. To have a role in enabling some of the world's best physicists to better understand the composition of the universe is deeply gratifying."

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