Iwate Industrial Research Institute: Moving towards high-volume production, encouraging local businesses to get involved
As Iwate Prefecture looks ahead to the International Linear Collider proposed for the Kitakami mountains (Kitakami highlands), the Iwate Industrial Research Institute (Chair: Tomoya Odashima) has succeeded in developing technology that will cut costs for the electropolisher used in manufacturing the SRF cavities that are central to the ILC’s accelerator (*For an explanation of SRF cavities, please see below). They have greatly reduced costs by using highly durable and inexpensive plastic resin. They aim to contribute towards producing a high volume [of the cavities] as well as encourage more Iwate businesses to get involved with accelerator-related industry.
Electrons and positrons need to travel at a fast speed with little resistance inside of the cavities. To bring this about, the insides of the cavities are made with a special metal which is treated with a strong acid, and then polished using an electric current. With current electropolishers, acid is poured onto the cavity using a tube made with an expensive resin material, but the IIRI’s research has found that is possible to use two other types of plastic resin, including the material that is used in car bumpers.
According to the IIRI, changing the resin material could result in a reduction to as little as one-fourth of current costs.
There are three companies working together to develop an electropolisher that reduces costs and labor hours.
-Higashi Nihon Kiden Kaihatsu, a control panel manufacturer in Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture (President: Goh Mitoya)
-WING, a plastic parts processor in Kitakami City, Iwate Prefecture (President: Fukumi Takahashi)
-Marui Galvanizing in Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture (President: Yoshiaki Ida)
The research done by IIRI will be used in their R&D. In order to make the technology more feasible in the future, the IIRI will perform durability experiments on the new plastic resin used in the electropolisher.
Soichiro Murakami, a specialized researcher in IIRI’s Functional Surface Technology Department, said, “I hope that these cost reductions for the electropolisher result in the ILC being built in Iwate and will encourage Iwate companies to get involved.”
The IIRI presented its research results on both June 16th and 17th, at 1pm each day at the IIRI building in Kita-Iioka, Morioka City. This particular research will be presented on the 16th. Participation is free.
*SRF Cavity: These cavities are the heart of the accelerator, and electrons and positrons are beamed inside at speeds almost as fast as the speed of light. The ILC SRF cavities are being developed and built at KEK in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture, and companies in Iwate are working together to develop ways to reduce costs for mass production. They are made of a pure metal called niobium.