Fit and Forget solution thanks to HUBER+SUHNER products in the ISIS particle accelerator

Written by 

Alfonso Perez

Market manager

For decades, man has sought to discover what holds the world together at its innermost core. To discover the answers, more than 2,000 scientists use the powerful ISIS particle accelerator for fundamental and applied research every year. The system is continuously being expanded and renewed. HUBER+SUHNER has already supplied kilometres of power cable.

ISIS is a public facility operated by the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in the UK and one of the world's leading scientific research centres. ISIS generates subatomic particles and is available to a large number of scientists for research purposes.


Accelerator facilities are used for a wide range of scientific applications. ISIS consists of a series of particle accelerators. Hydrogen ions are generated at the ion source, then passed into a linear accelerator. The electrons are stripped away by aluminium foil, then the remaining protons are fired into the synchrotron. This is a ring-shaped particle accelerator, 163 m in circumference in which the protons are accelerated by huge magnets. After nearly 10,000 revolutions, the particles reach 84% of the speed of light. From the synchrotron, magnets help convey the Proton beam to one of two target stations where they collide with the target to produce Neutrons. These neutrons are then guided to a total of 27 instruments. Each instrument can be used to analyse various properties at the atomic level of the sample material placed in the instrument. This, in turn, provides information about the physical properties of the material being investigated.


To power the magnets along the synchrotron and the target stations, HUBER+SUHNER delivered more than 55,000 metres of cable. RADOX® 155 and RADOX® 4 GKW cables transmit the energy from power supplies to the junction boxes and from there to numerous magnets. “The cable routes are over 100 metres in length with many tight bends,” says Daniel Leggett, an electrician at ISIS. “The limited and tight ducting access to the magnets necessitates highly flexible cables. In addition, they need to withstand operating temperatures of up to 155 degrees Celsius in the long term.” HUBER+SUHNER met all the requirements with its RADOX® 155 and 4 GKW cables. “The electrical and mechanical properties of the cables mean that they can operate for more than 20,000, hours even under extreme installation conditions,” says Mike Glover, Group Leader with ISIS. “The long service life makes the cable a ‘fit and forget’ solution for us.”


Steve Foster, Market Sector Manager at HUBER+SUHNER recalls the start of the project: “In addition to supplying the cables, we worked alongside their electrical specialists to fully understand the ISIS application requirements and matched them with our Radox cables' performance characteristics.” A high level of service and customer focus together with fast and reliable delivery of the products also contributed significantly to the project's success.

In a four-year contract, HUBER+SUHNER will also be supplying the power cables for future ISIS projects. In 2015, two further instruments could be installed in target station 2, and target station 1 could be upgraded. In this case, the energy transfer will once again be handled by high-performance RADOX® cables.