Business success at international facilities - STFC

Wessington Cryogenics

For the past 30 years, Wessington Cryogenics has been winning contracts at CERN and since 1997 the company has been awarded over 770,000 Swiss Francs (CHF) in contracts. The company has supplied a variety of components to the facility such as liquid helium and nitrogen dewars but they have also supplied custom cryostats and associated spares and accessories.

Torr Scientific Ltd

In early 2018, Torr Scientific Ltd, a high vacuum components company, was selected to supply 200 stainless steel window flanges for vacuum viewports with fused silica and Kodial glass optics for the CERN accelerators at the Large Hadron Collider.

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In April 2018, Allectra, a high vacuum components company, was selected to supply all the signal and high voltage feedthrough flanges for the ICARUS upgrade at CERN in a contract which was externally funded by the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) in Italy

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Serco, an international service company headquartered in the UK, has managed a number of CERN service contracts since the mid-1990s. The company’s first contract was for the support of desktop computers used by the 3,000 CERN personnel and 7,000 experimental visitors who are typically onsite at any one time. Another of Serco’s early contracts was a multimillion Swiss Franc contract to provide technical support work (operation, maintenance and consolidation) for CERN’s accelerator complex including the experimental and test areas.

The Serco contract manager Christian Prieur is in no doubt about the benefits of working with CERN: “It’s the number one science laboratory in the world – working with CERN is good for our image”. CERN encourages its suppliers to rise to technical challenges and improve efficiency. Success often opens up new opportunities for companies and this is certainly true for Serco, which has developed procedures and applications for its CERN contracts that have been rolled out elsewhere in the company.

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GRE Ltd, a thermal engineering specialist based in Devon, has won a contract to supply an ultra-pure water cooling system, including design, manufacture, testing, installation, commissioning, on-site training and handover for the European Spallation Source (ESS) in Lund, Sweden worth around £250,000.

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Rainford Solutions

On the day the Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded for work on the ‘God particle’, a theory confirmed by research conducted at CERN, the UK north-west based Rainford Solutions celebrated its successful tender win for the supply of its Vanguard® range of outdoor electrical enclosures to be used for further research projects at the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva. The outdoor cabinets will house the monitoring stations which measure the gamma and neutron radiation in the environment in the vicinity of CERN.

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UK company Dataracks has supplied equipment to CERN’s new network hub. Dataracks won the contract to supply 150 racks along with hot and cold aisle containment for high performance computing equipment following the company’s participation in one of the regular industry events arranged by the Department of International Trade and STFC.

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Norcott Technologies

In December 2017, Norcott Technologies won a contract from CERN worth over £800,000 for the supply of 900 beam instrumentation electronic modules to fulfil new requirements for back-end processing electronics. These will be used to upgrade the injector beam instrumentation systems as part of the LIU project and the LHC beam loss monitoring system as part of the LHC consolidation project.

Norcott Technologies was first introduced to CERN on a trade mission (UK@CERN) organised by the Department for International Trade (DIT) in conjunction with STFC. At UK@CERN Norcott was provided with a tailored programme of one-to-one meetings with key buyers at CERN, offering the opportunity to learn how to work with CERN and build relationships with key individuals. The size and scale of CERN surprised Norcott during their visit, and the company recognised the challenge of identifying suitable contacts and the importance of developing and maintaining relationships with key CERN staff. The contacts made during UK@CERN have been invaluable in Norcott’s success at CERN and have helped them to be awarded contracts for the manufacture of prototypes and NPI builds; such contracts have totalled approximately £215,000 since 2013.

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Centerprise International

In 2017, Centerprise International won a £1.8 million contract with CERN to supply CPU servers for physics data processing and control systems. The contract required Centerprise to assemble, test and deliver over 125 Intel® energy efficient rack-mountable systems to Switzerland to be utilised in CERN’s Meyrin data centre. Centerprise successfully fulfilled the contract in January 2018.

Centerprise evaluated several different options and found a solution that would meet CERN’s requirements. In order to meet the strict deadline imposed by CERN, Centerprise worked tirelessly to ensure components were delivered to their Welsh facility with sufficient time for configuration and testing before onward shipping.

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Custom Consoles

Custom Consoles has won its first contract at CERN worth £112,000 for the design and installation of technical control furniture for 2 areas in the Large Hadron Collider. Following on from this, they have won further work at CERN including a contract worth £36,000 for a new control room for testing magnets.

“Having worked extensively in the UK science industry for such clients as STFC, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the Diamond Light Source, the further securement of a contract with CERN will undoubtedly enable us to continue our expansion into the European science industry.” Gary Fuller, Custom Consoles.

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Tesla Engineering

Tesla Engineering has won €7.8 million worth of contracts from the ESRF as part of the Extremely Brilliant Source (EBS) upgrade project. They are supplying 400 quadrupole magnets and 100 dipole-quadrupole magnets which are essential parts of the new storage ring. The ESRF have been working in collaboration with Tesla on the pre-production phase assisting with the processes and tooling and they will continue to work closely together throughout the contract. Tesla will be using ESRF equipment to complete certain tests before the magnets are shipped to the ESRF. The ESRF team really appreciates the successful 3 way collaboration between STFC, ESRF, and Tesla Engineering Ltd.

Tesla Engineering has a long history of supplying specialist magnets for particle accelerators to national and international research facilities like STFC’s ISIS and CERN. Tesla has won a £2 million contract to supply magnets for the ISOLDE and the ELENA projects at CERN. The demands of these contracts expanded the company’s capabilities. Working with CERN has also helped Tesla recruit high-calibre graduates who find working with international facilities stimulating. “Following CERN’s input, we are using optical techniques to characterise the magnetic field with lasers. This experience has increased and expanded our capabilities” Simon Pittard, the Managing Director of the Magnet Division at Tesla.

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In 2014, BIOS IT, a high performance computing and consultancy company, won contracts totalling £3.2 million to supply specialist IT to CERN. These contracts, which enable the testing of new solutions, have been beneficial for the company in terms of credibility and capability. “The CERN team are very open and we’ve been able to discuss the latest technologies and applications with them. Working with CERN has given us a lot of credibility in the market… and demonstrated to global suppliers that we have the capability to deliver into a large research establishment. Our name is now recognised globally by the suppliers and that benefits us in terms of negotiating better deals.” Ian Mellett, a divisional director at BIOS IT.

AMF Engineering

AMF Engineering has won a contract from ESRF Extremely Brilliant Source (EBS) Project worth €860,000. AMF Engineering will be supplying one of the most important parts for ESRF’s new 844m circumference storage ring; the mechanical parts of the longitudinal magnets. These magnets designed by the ESRF feature a new technology which significantly reduces costs as it does not require water cooling or electricity. AMF have been working with ESRF since meeting them in 2012 at an STFC Meet the buyer event. Kostas Stamatopoulos, Business Development Manager, from AMF Engineering said: “Here at AMF, we believe that working closely with innovative organisations such as ESRF has always been our strategy to improve our skill sets, invest in cutting edge technology, attract new markets and as a result remaining competitive in this rapidly changing global marketplace.”

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Arcade UK Ltd

Arcade UK Ltd, a company specialising in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning have won £1 million worth of contracts at CERN from 2011 to 2013. Mike West, Managing Director said: “The projects that we have contributed to at CERN over the last year have had a significant impact on our business – our work there has led to an expansion in our engineering team and we have seen a positive increase in this year’s turnover.”


Midlands-based company Brandauer has won over 1 million CHF from CERN to supply parts for the Large Hadron Collider. The family-owned precision pressing and stamping firm employs 50 people, and has been in business for 150 years. The first contract was awarded in 2003 for 775 CHF and this led to 2 further contracts for pressure springs, taking the total contracts above the million mark in 2009. The company also supplies the automotive, aerospace, electronics, medical and alternative energy sectors.

AS Scientific

AS Scientific, a global supplier of low temperature engineering equipment, won several contracts from CERN which led to an invitation to join a consortium for work at ITER on a €53 million project. The company expects to gain £2-3 million in sales from the project.

F2 Chemicals

F2 Chemicals have won a £2 million contract to supply CERN with chemical coolants for the Large Hadron Collider. F2 Chemicals reported that working with CERN led to a boost in their sales and market image.

SME Hireserve

In 2003, SME Hireserve provided CERN with their iCams software recruitment solution, which directly led to expansion of the company and its client base. For example, following endorsement by CERN, the University Hospital of Geneva implemented the software to manage their 10,000 job applications each year.


SCISYS won a £50,000 contract with ESO for a software project to provide architectural design for the Telescope Control System of the ELT. This experience enabled them to win an initial £90,000 contract for the pre-construction of the Square Kilometre Array.

Last updated: 27 February 2023

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