Case study: Proton Accelerator Components For Assembly Solutions

Client: Top physics research facility | Industry: Scientific research | Key services: Design optimization, product selection, supply, training

Swagelok helps upgrade a powerful proton accelerator

Local distributor provides prompt design optimization, assembly services, and 10,000+ Swagelok tube fittings

The beam line to extract and transport beams from accelerator to the target. It is constructed from more than 100 electromagnets. More than 10,000 Swagelok tube fittings are used in the facility (J-PARC).Professor Kazuhiro Tanaka describes the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC) as “only just being at its infancy. It is like a newborn baby, and now it is our job to help it grow.”

The Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC) is a cutting edge physics research facility, conducts ground-breaking work on the structure of atoms and molecules. Operated by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), the facility houses one of the most powerful proton accelerators in the world. 

Improving the accelerator's fluid system design

When J-PARC needed new components to correct the accelerator’s fluid system, they weren’t sure which manufacturer to partner with. Because the existing fluid system components were produced by different manufacturers, the various sizing and specification discrepancies had caused leaks throughout the system. The use of copper tubes in the accelerator had also resulted in the need for constant tightening, as well as rust and corrosion problems.

Part standardization was going to be critical to fixing their system and preventing additional issues in the future.

J-PARC partnered with their local Swagelok sales and service center, because of their industry experience and reliability, custom manufacturing and assembly capabilities.

Delivering 10,000+ leak-tight connections 

Swagelok provided over 10,000 high-quality tube fittings, ranging in size from 6 mm to 15 mm, for installation at more than 20,000 connection points. These fittings were used on cooling tubes for standard conduction of electromagnets to control the proton beam in the accelerator. When design requirements prevented the use of these fittings, tubes were joined through Swagelok’s orbital welding system — a simple but highly effective process for establishing reliable connections.

Providing comprehensive training

The Swagelok team was also aware of safety concerns throughout the installation process; because proton accelerator research generates a high level of radiation, safety and radiation resistance was paramount at J-PARC. The installation team took this into account during every stage of the project and also provided comprehensive maintenance and safety seminars at J-PARC once the installation was complete.

Delivering value

By preventing leaks, the fittings enhanced reliability and efficiency across all accelerator experiments. Since installing Swagelok fittings and tube benders, J-PARC has not once had to shut down operations due to leakage problems.

With Swagelok’s reliable products and support staff, J-PARC addressed their leakage concerns and improved the functionality of their accelerator — the facility has now become a destination for researchers worldwide.

Emphasizing customer care not only during design and installation but even after the completion of a project, Swagelok is proud to provide integral components to various particle physics, nuclear physics, and materials and life sciences research facilities worldwide.


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